Should it be easier to vote in elections? | The Tylt
Should it be easier to vote in elections?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states and the District of Columbia offer the option to register to vote on Election Day. Most other states have set an arbitrary date, typically between eight and 30 days before elections, by which voters must be registered.
Several states have also adopted automatic voter registration. Per The Atlantic:
This year, we’ve already seen a wave of states enact a reform we at the Brennan Center pioneered more than a decade ago: automatic voter registration. It’s a deceptively simple change where information you provide at government offices like the DMV is automatically used to create or update your voter registration, if you are eligible to vote. You can always choose to opt out.
Since Oregon became the first state in the nation to implement AVR in 2016, it has seen registration rates quadruple at DMV offices.
AVR is secure. It’s cheap. And it keeps our registration rolls accurate (unlike misguided purges, including the one in 2016 that improperly deleted more than 200,000 names from the voter rolls in New York City). It’s also crucial at a time when voters are rightly concerned about hacking and interference in our elections.
All of these methods make it easier and more effective for people to participate in the democratic process.
“The left is trying to draw votes from illegals, from voter fraud, a lot of different things, so this kind of fits right in to trying to find another group that they can basically count on to vote their way,” DeMint said. “So it’s really a bigger issue, and that’s why the left fights voter ID or any kind of picture ID to know that it is actually a registered voter who’s voting. And so it’s something we’re working on all over the country, because in the states where they do have voter-ID laws you’ve seen, actually, elections begin to change towards more conservative candidates.”
Some argue that stricter voting laws, like ones that call for voter IDs, protect the fidelity of elections. Matthew Rousu, a professor of economics at Susquehanna University argued in an op-ed for Forbes that ID laws would protect voter's rights.
The second argument is that voter ID laws inhibit the right to vote. This is also incorrect. A voter ID requirement strengthens voters’ rights by protecting the votes of all who vote legally. When voter fraud occurs, it dilutes and weakens the votes of all law-biding voters. One could make a reasonable argument that by not forcing identification and encouraging fraud, you’re violating the promise of one person, one vote. Law-abiding voters are having their votes diluted by fraudulent votes.
However laws and policies that make voting more difficult disproportionately effect minority and low-income communities, dramatically swaying election results. Per The Atlantic:
The real extent of voter suppression in the United States is contested. As was the case for poll taxes and literacy tests long ago, restrictive election laws are often, on their face, racially neutral, giving them a sheen of legitimacy. But the new data from PRRI and The Atlantic suggest that the outcomes of these laws are in no way racially neutral. The poll, conducted in June, surveyed Americans about their experiences with voting, their assessments of the country’s political system, and their interfaces with civics. The results, especially when analyzed by race, are troublesome. They indicate that voter suppression is commonplace, and that voting is routinely harder for people of color than for their white counterparts.
The new data support perhaps the worst-case scenario offered by opponents of restrictive voting laws. Nine percent of black respondents and 9 percent of Hispanic respondents indicated that, in the last election, they (or someone in their household) were told that they lacked the proper identification to vote. Just 3 percent of whites said the same. Ten percent of black respondents and 11 percent of Hispanic respondents reported that they were incorrectly told that they weren’t listed on voter rolls, as opposed to 5 percent of white respondents. In all, across just about every issue identified as a common barrier to voting, black and Hispanic respondents were twice as likely, or more, to have experienced those barriers as white respondents.