The State Board of Elections met Monday and some of what its members had to say wasn’t good. Virginia has too many different kinds of voting machines, and too many of those are outdated. This would be disturbing even if the attorney general’s race wasn’t heading to a recount. Worse, in our view, is that the old voting machines are part of the problem: Our entire voting system is due for a retool. We encourage the state board to take the lead in upgrading not only the equipment but the process as a whole. Voting in the 21st century can and should be efficient and produce accurate results that reflect the true will of the majority. Turnout last month was 37 sad percent. Distasteful candidates didn’t help; nor did an antiquated system. And when 63 percent of our citizens do not bother to vote, democracy as a whole suffers.
Other states are taking impressive steps:
Colorado requires ballots be mailed to every single registered voter. Yes, you can vote by mail without asking for an absentee ballot.
Washington state has had good luck with online voter registration, including voter registration at the state’s driver’s license agency. In Virginia, the Department of Motor Vehicles gives citizens applications to register to vote but does not register voters.
Nevada is among states experiencing success with early voting. In 2012 that state offered two full weeks of early voting, with both permanent and mobile locations. Almost 70 percent of the state’s voters cast ballots early. No standing in line, no rushing from work to polling on a Tuesday night.