Will Wilkinson writes:
A thought: Could it be that the sort of person likely to be "intimidated" out of voting isn't in general the sort of person who you want to be voting?
I hope Will isn't referring to eligible voters. We know who the most easily intimidated voters are. They are exactly the sort of people we want to vote. Our democracy is weaker because more "easily intimidated" people stay home.
What sort of people are easily intimidated? They're the sort of people who can't afford to miss work or pay a babysitter while they stand in line for three hours. They're the sort of people who won't get paid time off work to vote, even if they're legally entitled to it. Some of them are elderly or infirm. Some of them remember the bad old days when the intimidation was physical.
Some of them want to avoid screaming lawyers and racial profiling. Imagine you're not sure whether you want to vote, but you know there's a pretty good chance that some upstanding member of the Ohio Bar Association is going to get in your face because you look like a Democrat (read: poor and/or black).
Libertarians should like easily intimidated voters. They tend to have a healthy fear of authority and a general distrust of institutions. Just registering to vote was a big deal for a lot of easily intimidated voters.
This year, many Americans are taking their first steps towards active participation in democracy. We don't just want them to vote, we need them to vote.