With the November presidential election
approaching, the city of Ann Arbor faces problems that potentially
could jeopardize citizens’ right to vote. The city still
lacks the skilled personnel and required resources necessary to run
the upcoming elections properly.

Laura Wong

This is a familiar situation for the city; mismanagement of last
year’s state and local elections resulted in a shortage of
ballots, forcing many citizens to wait in 45 minute lines in order
to place their votes. To do this, the city needs a city clerk
qualified to run the elections successfully. If Ann Arbor fails to
address these issues, voters will again encounter painfully long
lines at voting booths.

It is imperative that Ann Arbor accommodates citizens’
needs by minimizing the time it takes to vote. This includes having
sufficient resources and staff, as well as informing citizens of
the time, date and place of the elections well before voting
begins. First-time Ann Arbor voters may not know these important
bits of information, so the city should make this information
easily accessible.

Those overseeing the election must anticipate a high voter
turnout for the upcoming election and provide a sufficient amount
of ballots. An insufficient amount of ballots is easy to solve,
provided the election administrators are adequately staffed with
qualified and experienced poll workers. However, Ann Arbor’s
search for such workers has been difficult, and it still lacks a
city clerk to oversee elections.

If the city wants to overcome last year’s problem,
officials must take action. Accusations of a stolen presidency
arose from the 2000 presidential elections after counties in
Florida mishandled their ballots. City officials must avoid such an
incident.

Florida’s legacy from 2000 and Ann Arbor’s current
election problem are examples of why the federal government should
run national elections. All states will then have uniform
procedures, decreasing electoral controversy and confusion. Under a
federally regulated system, however, only national elections would
be controlled, so it is still imperative that Ann Arbor sort out
its own electoral mess. Ann Arbor and state goverments would have
effective and consistent local election procedures, while elections
for federal positions would be standardized across the nation.

Voting should be made convenient for citizens. Voters should not
dread going to the polls because the city has failed to invest the
proper resources and attention in the elections. If Ann Arbor wants
its citizens to value their voting experience, then it must make
the November elections a priority.

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