Letter: Thoughts about Haskell's column

The writer of this letter gives his thoughts in this letter about a written work that Connecticut state Sen. Will Haskell, (D-26), recently made.

The writer of this letter gives his thoughts in this letter about a written work that Connecticut state Sen. Will Haskell, (D-26), recently made.

Stock image

Sen. Will Haskell’s opinion “It’s time to make absentee voting easier” is off the mark in at least a couple of important respects.

First he conflates “absentee voting” with “voting by mail.” The absentee ballot is available to everyone and is a well-understood, controlled voting process — meaning that it ensures a reasonable measure of election integrity. Mail-in voting, on the other hand, is wide open to fraud and manipulation, a crucial finding of the 2005 Carter-Baker election commission which sought to address the 2000 presidential election fiasco. If Connecticut is to allow universal voting by mail, Haskell needs to explain the accompanying guarantees of election integrity that he contemplates, and ensure that they are embodied in the legislation. Disparaging Election Day as “archaic” is a convenient way to circumvent time-proven election controls.

Second, Haskell takes as a given that universal participation in elections is desirable. Maybe he is unfamiliar with the “Boaty McBoatface” farce, or doesn’t know any capricious or uninformed voters. Yes, every citizen has the “right to vote” but not every citizen is interested in voting. Failing to vote is itself a legitimate expression of voting preference, and making it “easy” to vote is an invitation to irresponsible voting. I don’t here presume to deny anyone their vote, including those irresponsible, but voting in person, with identification, on Election Day, is a perfectly reasonable demonstration of voter commitment to civic duty and democracy. These are not barriers to genuinely responsible voters. The small effort to vote has democratic value.

Haskell states, “It’s time for Connecticut to recognize that the right to vote is meaningless without the opportunity to vote.” Actually, it’s time for Haskell to recognize a higher principle — that the right to vote carries a solemn civic obligation and duty to vote responsibly.

David Rybarczyk

former Ridgefield resident (1982-2005), Dec. 18