The poet Carl Sandburg supposedly was asked by a young playwright to attend a rehearsal. Sandburg did but fell asleep. The playwright exclaimed, “How could you sleep when you knew I wanted your opinion?” Sandburg replied, “Sleep isan opinion.”
So is nonvoting. Remember this as the Obama administration mounts a drive to federalize voter registration, a step toward making voting mandatory.
Attorney General Eric Holder considers it self-evidently alarming that 60?million adult citizens were not registered in 2008. He wants Washington to register everyone automatically. “The arc of American history,” he says, “has bent towards expanding the franchise.” But the fact many people do not register to vote is not evidence that the franchise is restricted, other than by voters’ inertia.
Holder’s argument for trusting Washington, which does so many things badly, to superintend elections capably should be judged against this loopy statement by him: “We should rethink this whole notion that voting only occurs on Tuesday.” This year, voting began in some states in September; as much as 40?percent of votes were cast before Election Day; 12 states allow online registration.