The secret ballot faces possible elimination

Sept. 10, 2012

April Wefler
[email protected]

If you didn’t already know, it’s an election year. Yet, despite media buzz and active campaigning from both sides, I have a confession: I’m not voting this year.

I wasn’t eligible to vote in the 2008 election. My school had held mock elections since elementary, and I wanted to vote in a real election. But this year, even as a history major, I’m not going to vote. Go ahead and call me un-American.

I cannot walk by the library without passing by the Obama campaign table or walk by Centennial without passing by the Romney table.

I have been asked numerous times by both sides if I’m registered to vote. I am registered – which I told them – but I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business.

I realize both sides are trying to get students to vote in general, but how will hounding a student about voting registration help that cause?

It seems to me that it’ll just annoy the student to no end, as it did to me, and maybe even result in his or her decision to not vote.

If you tell one of the campaigners you’re not going to vote because you don’t agree with either of the candidates’ stances, the campaigner reminds you that there are other candidates besides Obama and Romney. If you say you don’t agree with any of them, you better leave quickly.

I have an unpopular opinion; I agree with Romney on some things and Obama on others. If I don’t agree fully with either of them, though, I don’t see the point in voting.

Why should it matter if you’ll vote or not or whom you decide to vote for? Isn’t the American vote supposed to be a secret ballot?

Yet, according to The New York Times, 33 states have passed photo identification laws. Five of them – Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee – require photo identification prior to voting.

Both South Carolina and Texas have attempted to pass laws requiring photo identification. The Justice Department blocked both states from passing the law, stating in both cases that passing the law would disproportionately suppress turnout among eligible voters in minority groups.

Texas took the Obama administration to federal court and was blocked again, while South Carolina, which asked a federal court to approve the law, is awaiting a the verdict predicted to come before November.

An article on The Atlantic goes as far as to suggest abolishing the secret ballot, saying that nonvoters are more likely to vote if neighbors are sent evidence of their apathy.

Is that what’s going on at these campaign tables? Is our right to a secret ballot being slowly eliminated? After all, I can’t say I’m not voting without being judged, but I expect I’d be judged about voting even if I wasn’t at the Obama campaign table or if the secret ballot wasn’t being questioned.

I’m sure some people will say I don’t have a right to complain since I’m not voting.  But maybe I would vote if I wasn’t constantly asked whether I was registered.

There are some things I think should be kept secret.  A person’s voting choices should only be shared if he or she wants to share them.