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American Democracy: Why Not A Block Party?

There was a piece from Zocalo Public Square last week that talked about LA's problem with voter turnout. The take-away: LA pretty much concedes control of state politics to the Bay Area thanks to anemic voter turnout.

The LA County registrar is always on the lookout for ways to goose the turnout, and has a reputation for thinking outside the box, as they say. Anything that moves the needle. One of the ideas has been to move poling places out of traditional locations and find voters where they already are: stores and the like.

The article’s author suggests that we turn all of LA into an experiment in voter turnout, trying different tactics in different communities. The title of the piece is “Let’s Put Voting Machines in In-N-Out Burger,” so you get where he is coming from and going to.

I can roll with the general logic, and maker knows that there is so much that can be done. But I think there is an intermediary step that Joe Mathews overlooks in his piece: use the now iconic LA Food Trucks to draw voters to the polls. Hell, get some specials or even free food going if you show off your ballot receipt.

That thought led to another: why don’t we start treating our democracy like a giant block party? We, as Americans, get so damn tense about politics, and then we make voting this nasty chore. I’ve always been one of those people that think it should be a national holiday…but we should go all out with it.

Poling places should be where we get to gather and talk it out. Eat some free food. Drink some free beer. All you have to do to get the goodies is VOTE. No need for a lotto, as some suggest. Hell, no need to mingle: just take those Kogi tacos to go, man. Why should it be the political parties that have all the fun? Why should it be the Koch Bros. and other Richie Riches who get to throw election night bashes?

If we’re going to tear out hair out every two years over the stupid crap our neighbors make us put up with we should at least have the chance to break bread with them so that we can get some sense as to why they are torturing us so. Even if the answer is “that guy’s a crazy anti-vaxxer inside job dude.”

If nothing else, at least we’d have free tacos on a Tuesday.