Universal Voter Registration

Screen_Shot_2015-03-16_at_6.07.20_PM.pngHere's a novel idea: universal voter registration. From HuffPo:

The so-called Motor Voter legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry.
Supporters say the legislation's goal is to keep young voters, students and working families who move often from losing their right to vote. Republican lawmakers, who unanimously voted against the bill, complain it puts Oregonians' privacy at risk.
"I challenge every other state in this nation to examine their policies and to find ways to ensure there are as few barriers as possible for citizens' right to vote," said Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Since we've seen bad news for voters coming out of North Carolina in recent weeks, it's nice to see a state treat voting as a positive right instead of a negative right. This is a great frame for voting rights supporters in general: the right to vote is so fundamental that it is in the state's interest for people to ask to give it up instead of having to ask to be granted the right.

I'll put that another way: We don't have to ask for the right to worship. We don't have to ask for free speech rights. We don't have to ask the state to grant us any of the rights in the Bill of Rights; we already have them by virtue of being an American citizen. So why do we have to ask the state (by registering) for the most fundamental right in a democracy - the right to vote?

If we put every citizen of age who isn't a felon on the voter rolls, more people will be brought into our democracy. It might not be in the interest of Republicans to grant suffrage to any eligible voter, but I bet they wouldn't feel that way if their proposals could win in the marketplace of ideas without government interference.

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