Voter Responsibility Should Count

We really don’t ask much of voters in this country.

We’re not particularly interested in their literacy or familiarity with the issues. Early and absentee voting obviates the need to queue up at the polls. We just want them to participate and respond — if that’s what it takes — to get-out-the-vote campaigns, whether sponsored by hip-hop performers, swift boat vets or Michael Moore-ons.

But is it asking too much of voters to register properly? The Florida Voter Registration Form requires an answer to an inarguably pertinent question: Are you a U.S. citizen? It then provides two boxes, labeled appropriately enough “Yes” and “No.”

Secretary of State Glenda Hood, while not necessarily the paragon of all things bipartisan, says an unchecked “Yes” box is a pretty good reason to deny a vote. Others, such as the League of Women Voters, Florida ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and the Kerry campaign, are crying foul — or at least much ado about a technicality.

Such scenarios of sloppiness tend to proliferate where there are third-party groups doing the registering — as in Florida. It also appears would-be Democratic voters are largely affected.

Pasco Elections Supervisor Kurt Browning put it best: “Voters have to take some responsibility to make sure that form is completed.”

What a concept.

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