Universal suffrage has long been the left-wing ideal, because of its egalitarian symbolism and redistributionist result. Those “nonpartisan” groups bugging people to “vote for the candidate of your choice” aren’t doing liberty and property any favors. The wider the franchise in a collapsing social order, the more property is up for grabs.

Thus an ominous sidelight to the 1996 election: the left is pushing for mandated time off to vote. For fundraising purposes, the Center for Democratic Renewal in Atlanta, Georgia, is “investigating” whether employers in Wedowee, Alabama, are overworking blacks to keep them from voting for black school board candidates. (Isn’t it enough that egalitarian agitators egged on vandals to burn down Wedowee’s high school? Now are they going to take over its private sector?) And the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate complains that jobs are keeping people all over the country from voting.

But if someone doesn’t have the internal drive to get to the polls before or after work, during lunch or coffee break, he probably shouldn’t be voting—admittedly a heretical thought in a mass democracy. The truth remains: it was a terrible mistake to institute the direct election of senators, to lower the voting age, and to forbid filtering devices like property qualifications and literacy tests. The voter has been systematically devalued for more than a century. The next logical stop is to mandate voting on a national holiday, the Devil’s version of the Holy Day of Obligation.