If you prefer ignorance on policy issues and politicians, do the rest of us a favor: Don’t vote.
For the backers of Initiative Petition 1, ignorance is bliss. They want more people to vote, no matter their interest level.
Last year, IP1 supporters collected 125,000 signatures to automatically register to vote anyone who gets a driver’s license or ID card at the Department of Motor Vehicles, unless they opt out in writing.
Contrary to the rhetoric of its supporters, IP1 doesn’t make it any more convenient to register to vote. You can already register to vote at DMV. IP1 would only sign up the people who, when currently presented with a chance to register, say no.
Voting is an essential part of our democratic republic, and our country needs its citizens to be actively engaged in scrutinizing policies, ideas and politicians. I hope everyone studies these issues — and not just because I want a larger audience for my columns.
If you decide, however, that you would rather not read a newspaper, a mailer or Google a candidate, that’s your choice. Just don’t pretend that casting an uninformed ballot does anything more than dilute the votes of those of us who study these issues.
We should aspire to get more people to cast informed votes. And IP1 won’t do that.
The Legislature has 40 days to make one of three decisions on IP1:
■ It can approve the initiative, which would make it take effect immediately.
■ The Legislature can pass a competing measure and send both to the ballot in 2018. Measures that receive less than 50 percent support would fail. But if both receive majority support, only the measure with most votes takes effect.
■ The Legislature can do nothing, which would allow voters to decide IP1 in 2018.
States across the country are considering similar measures. Prominent Democrat politicians, including President Barack Obama, have endorsed the idea. Supporters like to cite Oregon, which was the first state in the country to adopt this system, as proof that it works.
Oregon actually shows how unnecessary this is. Oregon registered more than 225,000 voters under its new system, but many would have registered anyway. The real test was how many of those newly registered individuals would vote.
Come Election Day, just 43 percent of them voted, compared with 79 percent of traditionally registered voters. That 43 percent included many folks who would have registered under the old system.
It’s almost as if people are already intelligent enough to figure out whether they want to register to vote.
I encourage every citizen to vote, but if someone doesn’t want to, we should respect their choice.