COLUMN: You get a vote | Columns

COLUMN: You get a vote | Columns

The 2020 election was highly polarizing, as it again saw an argument over the validity of outcomes. In presidential elections, a candidate must win the Electoral College. In America, a candidate can lose the popular vote but can still become president. I believe voting rights have been under attack for generations, with the outright refusal to allow women and African Americans to vote to gerrymandering counties.

Why do elected officials want to make it harder for Americans to vote? What is the fear? Could it be they do not feel their policies, views, and platforms will attract voters, or is it something more sinister? I am a fan of allowing each vote to count in general presidential elections, as they do in local state elections. In the state elections, the person who gets the most votes, wins the election. Why would that be different for the highest office in the land?

The effort to disenfranchise voters has been in practice for years. I’m a proponent of allowing the popular vote to decide the presidential election. Right now, If someone votes for the Republican candidate but the state is heavily Democratic, that Republican’s vote is counted toward the popular vote, but will not make a dent in the election results. Opponents of abolishing the Electoral College have told me if that happens, it would mean Democratic states, such as California and New York, would decide elections. To them, I say Texas has, for years, been a GOP state, has an enormous population, and other GOP states combined have a great deal of people in them. They are also supporting restricting voting, gerrymandering, limiting voting hours and voting drop boxes.

All elections should be fair, regardless of political party. This country should make the process of voting easier and more secure. Parties should do a better job at pushing a message that will attract voters, rather than taking away opportunities. We have seen sweeping voting changes in states after the 2020 election, and many people think those who lost elections are trying to change the rules so they can win more in 2022. This is not fair, regardless of what party you are associated with.

A more inclusive approach to elections is needed. We should look at what the voters want and tailor the election experience to them. People do not like waiting in lines for two hours, so let’s work with each state to ensure they have a plan to staff election sites and offer more sites. People want to know their votes count, so let’s work on the message that providing an ID to ensure your vote counts is a good thing. We know not everyone wants to vote at a polling location due to concerns with social distancing, time constraints, etc., so let’s make it easier for those who need to vote by mail to do so, where identities can be confirmed and votes can be counted.

Elections have consequences, but election suppression has disastrous potential outcomes. Make elections fair.

Corey Carolina is an NSU graduate, North Tulsa entrepreneur and activist, and owner of Carolina Food Co.

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