On election day, I heard a talk radio host saying that he did not want higher turn out at the polls. He said that if people hadn’t been paying attention to the political scene and were debating whether they should go or just felt they should go because of some “duty” to vote, he didn’t want them there. “Stay home, put your feet up,” he encouraged. He has a good point. When I voted, several of the people there demonstrated an extreme lack of knowledge about what was on the ballot. They read the two Kentucky constitutional amendments for the first time at the polling place and said they didn’t know anything about them. (Aside: it’s not like Kentucky makes this information easily available. Since they have to publish the absentee ballots in advance, you’d think they could stick a copy of the ballots for each county on a website somewhere.)
I was talking to someone at work about this. We’d had an interesting debate about the merits of the amendments the day before and suffered similar experiences with uninformed voters. Our conversation turned to how much easier it is to be informed now than it was even 5 years ago. You can read a massive number of newspapers from around the state, nation, and the world as easily as clicking a link. Pre-web this would have required either large amounts of money or a trip to the library daily. Even then, many libraries would get only a few of the newspapers, and most likely few of the international papers. Now we can be overwhelmed by the wealth of information or we can just hit Google News for the daily snapshot. Wow.