Some of us live in Washington, where once we have registered to vote, the county auditor mails us a ballot every time there is an election in which we can vote. We can sit in our most comfortable chair at a time that's convenient to us, spend a few minutes researching the issues or the candidates involved, mark our ballot and toss it in the mail.
In Idaho it's more traditional. Still, we can get an absentee ballot from the courthouse and do pretty much the same thing, or go to the polls on election day. There we're simply asked for a photo ID and given a ballot to take the voting booth.
Soon, if you live in Oregon, and have any contact with its Department of Motor Vehicles, you will be automatically registered to vote. Then, Oregon election officials, the very first in the nation to go to all-mail voting, will send you a ballot whenever it is appropriate without you doing anything more.
Now, President Obama is talking about going even further.
Obama, last Wednesday during a town hall meeting in Cleveland suggested that if U.S. voters want to counter the outsized influence of money in politics, it might be a good idea to adopt mandatory voting, news services reported.
"Other countries have mandatory voting," he said. "It would be transformative if everybody voted - that would counteract money more than anything. The people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income, they're skewed more heavily toward immigrant groups and minority groups There's a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls."
Quite a few people have immediately stepped forward to criticize this, saying it would result in uninformed voters casting ballots and result in shallow campaigns trying to get people to vote by scaring or exciting them.
If that's the best the opponents can do, well, they aren't paying much attention to how informed voters are today and the current nature of political campaigns.
We've said before we think scary tales of vote fraud are merely ruses to keep young, poor, immigrant and minority citizens from voting for their interests.
We may not be ready for mandatory voting, but we are ready for anything reasonable that makes it easier to vote.
- Lee Rozen, for the editorial board