How do we make sure that voting, such a crucial part of our democratic process, is actually fair? This question became especially relevant during the 2020 federal and state elections that featured fewer polling places and more mail-in/absentee voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. The answer is to focus on the areas of redistricting, voting technology, and vote verification.
Voter apathy is a natural outgrowth of political races whose outcomes are already pre-determined because of gerrymandering. Why go to the polls if your vote won’t make any difference to the outcome? One solution discussed here: set up independent commissions to remove politics from the equation and determine fair redistricting. Progress is being made on this front: in November 2020, Virginia voters approved a referendum that puts redistricting in 2021 in the hands of a bipartisan commission of citizens and legislators equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.
The voting process itself also must be transparent, with no unnecessary barriers. Voters should be confident that their vote counts, that the voting process is totally fair and equitable, and that every demographic is fairly represented. Voting technology, too, must be totally reliable, meaning the latest available digital and technology enhancements must have a dependable back-up system to ensure that every vote cast is verifiable.
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