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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Voters cast their ballots at Washington Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Editorial Sampler: How we vote. Or don’t ...

Voter turnout: Utah should be more voter-friendly — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Our government functions best when more people participate on the one day when the doors stand open the widest: Election Day.

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Utah election participation falls short of this ideal, even as election officials pay lip service to it by using a deceptive method of calculating voter turnout. ...

... But the real voter-suppression activity in Utah isn’t found in registration or ballot rules. It happens in the way the state’s super-majority Republican rulers exclude the vast majority from the process, through a Byzantine caucus and convention system for nominating candidates and a brazen habit of gerrymandering congressional and legislative districts to be wholly noncompetitive.

In such a climate, it’s no surprise that Utah’s true voter turnout rate is disappointing. Too many average citizens just don’t see the point.

Voting rules need tightening: Lax procedures make fraud too easy — Orange County Register Editorial

... A pre-election investigative report by television station NBC Bay Area turned up more than 25,000 registered voters that remain on the state’s active rolls despite having died several years ago. A closer look at the data revealed that some of the dead people were not only still registered, according to the station, "but, somehow, even voted, several years after their deaths." ...

More voting, not less — Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial

... Any type of voter fraud is repugnant, but Pennsylvania’s law doesn’t improve the integrity of elections, and it places an unfair burden on those who lack an acceptable form of ID. That group includes those who don’t drive, haven’t served in the military, don’t work for the government, aren’t nursing home patients, and don’t attend in-state colleges. It means that a disproportionate number of the poor, elderly, and young would have had trouble voting Nov. 6 because they lacked proper IDs. ...

Still counting votes 3 weeks later? — USA Today Editorial

... The standards for examining provisional ballots vary dramatically from state to state and even within some states. In the next close presidential contest, lawyers will fight over which ballots to count and whether their candidates are being treated fairly. ...

Let’s keep same-day voter registration — Racine (Wis.) Journal Times Editorial

... Democracy requires participation. We want everyone to participate. Including those who take a little longer to show up.

N.J. should move to allow in-person early voting — Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger Editorial

It’s been a while since we were a nation of farmers, but you wouldn’t know it from the rules that govern how we vote in national elections. ...

Efforts to make voting easier important — Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier Editorial

... the FAST Voting Act of 2012 introduced in the U.S. Senate last week by Virginia’s Mark Warner and U.S. Sen. Chris Cooms, D-Delaware, is smart legislation. ...

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