Just about every election year, syndicated columnist George F. Will writes a column telling political activists to please forget about "Get Out The Vote" drives.
Will's reasoning can be summed up thusly: People who have to be poked, prodded, pushed or driven to the polls are probably so uninformed about the candidates and the issues that their votes are worse than useless.
Furthermore, they care so little about their country and their responsibility as citizens that, unless badgered, they will stay home and watch "Judge Judy" rather than perform their most important civic duty.
Will's argument is that people who take the time to study the candidates and the issues are in the best position to make an intelligent selection of our leaders. He advocates an informed electorate, even if it is a smaller one.
While that may sound elitist, there are some very good points:
* Do you want County Council members chosen by people who have never seen the names of the candidates until they see them on the ballot? Do you want someone like that canceling out your vote?
* Do you want Maui's representatives to the Legislature selected on the basis of which party's worker drove the voter to the polls? Or should that voter have some idea of what the incumbents did in their last term and what the challengers advocate?
In fact, after considering those two points we'd urge Maui activists to conduct "Get Out The Information" campaigns instead of "Get Out The Vote." Spend the money on informing the electorate, not herding them to the polls.
Frankly, if you have to badger and cajole somebody to vote, Will is right - we'll all be better off if you just let them stay home.
(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.