Editorials

SUN HERALD | Editorial: Easier, cleaner, cheaper elections would be nice

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and his Election Reform Committee have come up with some ideas that deserve the Legislature's full attention.

Hosemann convened a bipartisan committee of people from all angles of the election process to clean up a system that hasn't been overhauled in years. It has come up with ways to make the system fairer, more efficient and less costly. Win. Win. Win.

If Legislature approves the proposals, voters will be able to vote up to 21 days before the election by showing up at the Circuit Clerk's office with an ID. People also will be able to register to vote online, reducing the cost a single registration, by Hosemann's estimation, from 83 cents to 3 cents. It will save voters time and money, too, and we hope increase participation.

And, there are provisions to put those who would game the system on notice that the state will no longer tolerate shenanigans in its elections. We hope politicians will finally start filling out those campaign finance reports properly. And we hope we've seen the last of what Hosemann called politics by ambush. He's talking about those late-in-the-game mailers, some of which targeted legislative candidates of both parties on the Coast.

For those who don't remember, they featured a woman cowering before a knife-wielding shadowy figure. "When seconds count," it read. "(Fill in the blank with the candidate of your choice) wants to leave you defenseless."

There were others. Some of the groups who sent them wouldn't even own up to doing so. And the ones that did, didn't report any spending during the campaign.

"I think people ought to say I paid for it, tell me who did it and sit next to me in church," said Hosemann.

Good idea.

There are many other provisions, including stiffer penalties for election fraud.

We urge lawmakers to take a good hard look at all of them. Laws that could make elections cleaner, easier and less expensive deserve nothing less.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.

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