Don't let masses in on voting
THE Star-Bulletin's most recent "Insider Survey" addressed the issue of why more Hawaii residents don't bother to vote, and the biggest reason apparently is that they are worried they will be killed by car bombs, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers on their way to the polls.
No, wait. That's the reason more people don't turn out to vote in Iraq. And even though Iraqis take their lives in their hands when casting ballots, they still turn out in greater percentages than Hawaii voters, whose only serious threat of injury is getting a paper cut while feeding their ballot into the counting machine.
When you get right down to it, the reason most Hawaii residents don't bother to vote is that they don't want to. And I say that if people don't want to vote, they shouldn't. When people vote who shouldn't, you get weird results, like the time a certain candidate from a prominent family ran for the school board and got, like, a million votes simply because of his last name. And it turned out he was kind of a nut (I mean that in the most inoffensive, clinical sense) and had made up a lot of bogus stuff about his background, the most alarming being that he had won a couple of Nobel prizes.
THERE'S an old political saying: You can lead a voter to the polls, but you can't make him think. And dumb people are dangerous with guns, ballots and martini recipes.
Some people (i.e., incumbent politicians) are happy the vote is low. Incumbents have a voting base of devoted followers. If you were to suddenly flood the market with uninformed, freethinking individuals, it would dilute the incumbents' power base.
Now, if you really wanted more people at the polls, it's not that hard to do. Getting more people to vote actually is very simple: Bribe them. When I was young, naive and on the svelte side, I suggested turning voting into a lottery, where everyone who votes gets a chance to win $1 million. I am no longer that person, and if you don't believe me, check with my tailor. I think combining voting with a lottery would just entice a lot of riffraff into the process. Not only would one of those knuckleheads vote for the wrong person, they'd win the lottery and we'd all want to kill them. Or at least hope they got an extremely annoying paper cut.
, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org