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Thinking About Voter Registrations

by Fred Cederholm

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Indiana photo ID requirement caused me to research voting requirements. I was shocked by what I learned.

I’ve been thinking about registrations. Actually I’ve been thinking about the 2008 elections, the endless campaigns, the Supreme Court, endless payment increases, and a growing malaise affecting all US/us. It is really difficult to get fired up for the coming elections which are still some six months off into the future. This is no small observation coming from me—the all-time news and political junkie! I am not alone in this feeling of weariness, as many of my readers agree on this.

You see, the Tuesday primary elections in Indiana and North Carolina “may” determine who will be the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party in the 2008 Presidential election, but I am not counting on it. Both Senators Clinton and Obama claim they are in the fight until the 2008 Denver Convention. Senator McCain has “locked in” the Republican Party spot on the ballot.

Campaigning has gone on for two years. The conventions, real debates, and podium combat still loom before us. I was disgusted and undecided about my choice of options in 2004. I voted for President last, and ended up actually flipping a coin—John Kerry “won” the toss! That is no way to make a voting decision.

This time I’ve threatened to write in “none of the above” and check THAT as a protest vote. Mrs. Thomas, one of my all-time favorite teachers (and League of Women Voter member), lectured me that THAT is a sorry cop-out, and that she was absolutely ashamed of me for even joking about it! As always...she is completely correct. Choosing our next President is a sacred right, an honor, and a privilege—one dearly paid for by those who have gone before us and defended this land, its constitutional processes, and the American way of life. This country is in a mess no matter how you think about it. The current Newsweek cover story talks about “The Post-American World,” and how over 80% of our population believe the nation is on the wrong track—a 40-plus-year high!

We need leadership and a major change, of course. Our next president must not only be Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, they must be an inspirational Cheerleader-in-Chief. Their oratory from the “bully pulpit” of the Oval Office must be backed with a specific bullet-point listing of the details of their agenda and plan of action with a timetable. Platitudes, clichés, and sound bites are not going to cut it. We need the leadership of a John Kennedy or a Ronald Reagan to fire up the populace and unite them in the hard choices we must face as a nation. Details on their plans for a turnaround have not been forthcoming from McCain, Obama, or Clinton. Shame on them! And... shame on US/us for not demanding such from them. Heck... they haven’t fully ID'ed the problems!

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Indiana photo ID requirement caused me to research voting requirements. I was shocked by what I learned. The steps necessary for voter registration, residency requirements, and time frame requirements for registration vary greatly from state to state—even for the national office elections. If you are not registered, you cannot vote. The Illinois system has shorter eligibility and registration time frames (before elections) than most states. Some require almost a full year of residency and a minimum 90-day window of registration before the elections. Illinois even has “motor voter” where you take care of the necessary paperwork at the Secretary of State’s offices for drivers’ licenses changes and renewals. This couldn’t be easier!

It is so tempting to be focused on the never-ending (and escalating) bills and payments that we face every month. The barrage of the daily negatives calluses us into a numbed stupor of malaise that we can readily forget how “we” are the problem, but “we” are the solution. If you are not registered to vote; please call your County Clerk’s Office, get the relevant information, and get registered! There is still time.

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2008 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on May 5, 2008.