(Update) Oregon Secretary of State to propose automatic universal voter registration

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Update to an earlier post, Oregon Secretary of State to propose automatic universal voter registration.

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post reports today, Voter registration could be automatic:

The Oregonian editorialized over the weekend about voting in that state (via Hasen):

Secretary of State Kate Brown has a proposal, based on
what Oregon has learned over two decades’ experience with the mail
ballot: Getting to vote should be easy, not hard.

Brown has introduced House Bill 2198, which would allow the state to
automatically register any Oregonian when a state agency already has
their name, age, address and digital signature. Right now that means
Driver and Motor Vehicle Services, but it could extend to other
agencies. Following this system in other places achieves registration of
more than 90 percent of eligible voters
.

Just using DMV records, Brown estimates that another 500,000
Oregonians would get the power to decide, at the end of October or the
beginning of November, that a candidate has finally inspired or annoyed
them enough to make them decide to vote.

It’s a right they should have.

There’s absolutely no good reason for such proposals not to be
adopted — and not just state-by-state, either. There’s no good reason
for the burden of voter registration to be on the voter, instead of on
the government
.

Indeed, the United States is unusual in making it hard by requiring a
two-step process for eligible voters — that is, registering and then
voting. Most world democracies have automatic registration. And
nineteenth century United States didn’t have any voter registration at
all. It worked just fine, just as having no voter registration works just fine in North Dakota right now.

To do it any other way — to place the burden on the voter — is useful
for only one reason: if you want to keep people from voting. That’s it.
And it’s effective! Especially among those who move often, which tends
to be those who are younger and poorer than those who stay in the same
place for longer.

Don’t listen to anyone who gives you any other reason. Voter
registration is hard in most states because someone who didn’t want
people to vote passed a law. That’s the only reason, and it’s a lousy
one in a democracy.

What I have been saying for years. Let's Begin the Debate on The Merits of This Proposal: Universal Voter Registration (2009).

UPDATE: More from Think Progress. Oregon May Lead The Way On Automatic Voter Registration.

Comments are closed.