The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 4, 2012

The ultimate participation sport


Daily Item

---- — The controversy over Pennsylvania's now-delayed voter identification law chiefly hinged on questions about the integrity of our elections.

Democrats and other opponents worried that the voter ID rules were meant to suppress votes.

Republicans and other supporters of the legislation said it was meant to ensure that people casting voters were really who they claimed to be. The notion of voter impersonation as a threat has never been credibly documented.

On the other hand, the potential for disenfranchisement caused by the legislation has been well-documented.

An appeals court judge ordered that the new rules cannot be enforced in this election.

But, after months of mixed-messages, Election Day looms with the state still warning that those who go to the polls will be asked for identification even though it is not required.

The best way to ensure the vitality of democracy is to actively participate in it. That means, in the short term, making sure that all friends and neighbors who lack transportation to the polls can get there.

That means, all who are registered ought to consider voting. That means taking the responsibility of voting seriously.

There is ample evidence that the American people generally, and Valley residents, specifically are engaged in this election.

Despite habitual grumbling about the omnipresence of campaign advertising and wall-to-wall campaign coverage, there is a real dialogue taking place.

It may be only a modest bellwether, but reader interest in the presidential race has translated into an unprecedented volume of letters to the editor -- 35 published since Tuesday, and all of them focusing on the election and representing vastly divergent but unviersally thoughtful viewpoints. Presidential elections always attract more attention than other elections.

But there is a real sense that this election places America at a fork in the road and that there will be dramatic ramifications depending on which path we take.

It may make all the difference as a poet famously suggested when musing about the road less-traveled. Take ID or do not take identification.

Just vote.

Everyone can agree, that regardless of political affiliation, the greater the turnout, the clearer the victory and clearer the mandate for our nation's path forward.