What if we made voting fun?

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Courtesy of Jim Hightower

The shameful truth about America’s democratic process is that it’s become so un-democratic that they don’t want you to vote.

By “they” I mean the power elites who benefit by restricting the vote as tightly as possible to people who support their candidates and policies. We can wring our hands about the voter suppression that’s suffocating the people’s will — or, we could join hands to support common sense measures for voter expansion.

It’s an abomination that politicians rig the system to exclude legitimate voters, and those who do so should be publicly shamed and mocked for their pretension that they’re “protecting the integrity” of the ballot box. All they’re protecting is their political posteriors.

It’s time to unlock the voting booth doors: Some six million felons who’ve paid their dues should be restored to full citizenship; provide automatic voter registration for every 18-year-old; stop mass purges of voter rolls; vote by mail; provide extended and easy absentee voting; have Election Week, rather than Election Day; accept any valid ID; vote where you live; restore the Voting Rights Act; pass a constitutional amendment to assure every eligible individual’s right to vote; and invest fully in our nation’s democratic infrastructure, including verifiable voting machines, multiple polling places within easy reach of all, an abundance of trained poll workers to eliminate lines and quickly resolve problems.

And here’s a crazy idea: Make voting fun, a festive occasion for the whole community. In Australia, for example, most polling places have barbecues. Why not add music, art, games and other enjoyment to make voting a truly civic activity? America’s democratic pageant doesn’t have to be a grinding obstacle course, an intimidating experience… or boring. After all, it belongs to us. Let’s make it better.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.