Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Modest Proposal

Most California voters are complete idiots.

That's right.  I've thought long and hard about this, examined the data, considered it from every angle, and determined that the majority of adult citizens in our state are of extremely questionable intellect.

Mind you, this evaluation has nothing to do with the actual results of the balloting. Sure, California elected a Democrat to every (or almost every) state-wide office, while at the same time defeating a number of ballot initiatives any sane Democrat would have supported. And no, that type of confusion does not speak well for the sophistication of our electorate.

But, while the outcome of the election certainly does not paint a flattering picture of the voting public, I am focused here instead on the process itself.  Let's start with the obvious:  as far as I can tell, close to 100% of Californians, at one time or another, bitch and moan about the state of the state.  Taxes are too high, the beaches too dirty, the schools too crowded.  And yet, even in an election as hotly contested—and broadly advertised—as this one, only a bit over half of our neighbors cast a ballot.  I expect this problem to resolve itself as these people starve to death, one by one, while waiting for somebody to bring them something to eat.  From the kitchen.  In their own house.

Shifting our focus to those who did put forth the effort required to make a few marks on a piece of paper, the picture is no more impressive.  Roughly half of these folks actually show up at a polling place to vote.  Let me say that again: given the option of receiving a ballot in the mail weeks before election day, filling it out at one's leisure, and dropping it in a mailbox, about half of Californians have decided that it would be more fun to take time off from work, drive to a nearby elementary school, wait in line, and use a keyboard or hole punch device that has been handled by about 100 other people in the past hour.

My friends, I don't wait in line for so much as a burrito. And who among you, dear readers, would even consider showing up at the DMV without an appointment? You read my blog; surely that suggests that you are far too clever for that sort of behavior.

Oregon, a state whose primary purpose heretofore was to increase the flight time from Orange County to Seattle, has gone to all-mail balloting (not to be confused with "all-male" balloting, a term used to describe either pre-19th Amendment America, or the modern Republican constituency). The result? Voter turnout this week in Oregon exceeded 71%.

Nonetheless, as a staunch (yet humble) defender of individual liberty, I take offense at Oregon's inflexible insistence on intelligent behavior.  After all, if we force everybody to act sensibly, how will we weed out the senseless?

Instead, for our next election, I propose that we set some secret ground rules in advance. First, if you don't vote, you lose your right to vote altogether. Sorry: you had your chance. Oh, and also, we take away your children: after all, the children are our future, and we simply can't entrust our future to people like you.

If you do vote, but you show up at a polling place to do so, here's what happens: we let you wait in line, find your name on the giant hardcopy list, get your ballot, and enter the little booth. When you return, ballot in hand and self-satisfied smile on your face, we graciously accept your ballot and then burn it in front of you. As you watch, horrified, while the flames engulf your precious envelope, we thank you for voting, hand you your "I Voted" sticker, and shoo you away.  Then we take your kids.

I estimate that this policy alone will increase the average IQ of the electorate (those whose votes weren't incinerated, that is) by 20-30%.  It may be hard finding vote-by-mail foster parents for all the kids we saved, but it will have been worth it.


  1. I can't tell you how hard I laughed at the last bit - it's just so true. But really, I'd love to see that happen. Great idea, kudos!

  2. I am an in-person voter. I like to go and see my neighbors who are poll workers each year. I use the time waiting in line (usually not more than a couple of minutes at most) to reflect on what a good idea it is to have the polls at elementary schools so that children can be exposed to democracy in-action. I like looking at the big book to see which of my neighbors has voted already. I like getting my sticker. But you can have my kids.

    I have no problem with people voting in any manner they like. What I am pissed about is the people who just don't. Like my law school friend who is now with the DA's office. She thinks it's funny that she is not even registered. Some of my other lawyer friends do not register so that they can avoid jury duty. Really. Don't get me started.

  3. Thanks, dandy.lion, whoever you are!

    Mary: I hereby grant you a waiver. Besides, I'll need your help in devising a method for taking away the children of non-voters, seeing as you are a subject matter expert.

    (And of course, you make a good point about education. One of the links above goes to an interesting blog posting:

    ...where he mentions that voting by mail gives him the opportunity to sit around the table with his kids and discuss the issues as he fills out his ballot.)

    As for your non-registered friends, bad news: the county also uses drivers' licenses for jury duty. But perhaps we're all better off if they're not voting anyway.

  4. Oh how I h8 non-voters. And yes, as lawyers they should KNOW that the DMV will rat them out. Also, as F'in LAWYERS they should ALSO know how important juries can be. OMG I'm about to have an aneurysm.

    I also support sitting around and discussing the ballot with the kiddies. Especially if they have been bad. They will beg you to stop, but...

    With my kids being in their early 20's, we had fun talking about the pros and cons of prop 19!

    P.S. to the people who said no one would buy pot if they could grow it at home more cheaply and avoid the tax: yes, look at how many people bake their own bread, brew their own beer, ferment their own wine, grow their own vegetables, sew their own clothes, all to save money.

  5. I think we can all agree that the most important thing is that these people not be allowed to reproduce.