Automatic voter registration is not needed

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Oregon has been a longtime leader in voter participation.

Oregon’s registered voters actually vote, which is why the state is regularly among the highest in the nation in voter turnout.

But if a plan in the Oregon Legislature to make voter registration automatic is approved, look for the percentage of voter participation to decline.

If somebody doesn’t take the time to registered to vote, are they really going to fill out their ballot? Not likely. The result will be a much lower percentage of voter turnout since many registered voters did not want to vote in the first place.

The proposal by Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Democrat, calls for automatically registering those eligible to vote at the time they received or renewed their driver’s license. It is expected to add hundreds of thousands of newly registered voters.

The idea is starting to pick up support in Salem. The proposal was approved by the Joint Ways and Means Committee last week and now goes to the full House for approval. The chances of approval are apparently good as Democrats, who control the House and Senate, generally favor the plan.

Approving this plan is insulting to those who take their citizenship and civic duty seriously.

Voting is a privilege of citizenship. The privilege should be reserved for those who actually want to vote.

And even if the reluctant voters opt to use the ballots they were mailed, will they take the time to consider the issues and candidates’ stands on the issues? Highly unlikely.

Beyond this, the opportunity for voter fraud would increase. When ballots are sent to people not necessarily expecting them the chance they could fall into the wrong hands increases.

The likelihood people ineligible to vote — noncitizens and felons, for example — mistakenly being sent a ballot would increase.

If the goal is to get more people to participate in the election process, this is the wrong approach.

Instead, continue to make voter registration easy and convenient.

Currently there is ample opportunity to register to vote without having to go to a county courthouse. In Oregon (and Washington) people can register to vote when getting their driver’s licenses if they ask and they can also do so online at each state’s secretary of state’s office.

That is pretty darn easy. And it is as easy as it needs to be.

Again, citizens who want to vote must assume some responsibility. That should, at a minimum, include making an effort to register to vote.

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Comments

fatherof5 says...

I respectfully disagree. For people who own computers (like anyone reading this) or for those who drive, registering to vote is a minor inconvenience that we do proudly because it is the hoop we must jump through to be able to vote. It is the act of voting, though, that is the sacred civic duty, not registering. Registering to vote is only important because it allows us to do the thing that actually IS important.

This editorial argues that: "Voting is a privilege of citizenship. The privilege should be reserved for those who actually want to vote."

I think the best way to determine who "actually wants to vote" is to see who actually votes, not to see who manages to register. There are many poor and elderly people for whom this proposal will make the privilege of voting one step easier...and that's a good thing.

Posted 26 June 2013, 1:51 p.m. Suggest removal

carcrazy says...

What about the poor and elderly that don't get a Driver License?

Posted 26 June 2013, 3:47 p.m. Suggest removal

fatherof5 says...

Yeah, you're right. This doesn't solve everything for everyone, but I think it is a good step.

Posted 26 June 2013, 4:36 p.m. Suggest removal

Kevconpat says...

You're right, I believe. It is a 'step' in the right direction. People who don't drive still have the opportunity; indeed the right to register to vote. Laziness and apathy is alive and well if one chooses!
We can't fix ....encourage everyone to vote in a one piece fit's all scenario. This is after all a democratic based system. True, there must be interest and a desire to vote. Some, sigh.....- just don't care.
'Til then the simple majority and sometimes the minority will decide EVERYONES futures.

Posted 26 June 2013, 7:13 p.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

It would seem that the simple majority is the only informed voters to prevent devastation of the constitution of America.

Posted 27 June 2013, 8:34 a.m. Suggest removal

wallyworldguy says...

anything to promote more voter fraud right?

Posted 27 June 2013, 4:53 p.m. Suggest removal

fatherof5 says...

Oh, wallyworldguy. Limbaugh and Fox News have you right where they want you. First, I have no interest in promoting voter fraud. That's stupid. Second, voter fraud is a manufactured crisis designed as an excuse to pass voter ID laws that, on balance, will disenfranchise more LEGAL Democrat voters than Republican voters. That's why we see Republican states aggressively implementing these laws, particularly now after the SCOTUS ruling that frees southern states to do this stuff. Why else would one party suddenly become so aggressive about a cause that is otherwise so small.

Want evidence? Okay.

In [this article][1], according to Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, in 2012 there were 135 "possible" voter fraud cases out of 5.63 million votes cast. That comes to 0.002397 percent. Husted said requiring a photo ID “wouldn’t have mattered in most of these cases.” However, when you raise the bar to vote by requiring photo IDs for folks without easy transportation, who perhaps no longer even have their SS cards or birth certificates, and some of whom can't afford to take time off work to deal with the hassle, there will be literally hundreds of thousands of legal voters nationally who end up not voting because of these laws. Thousands will no longer vote, but we prevented, maybe, a few fraudulent votes?

This [2012 article][2] explains why a court blocked the Texas effort for voter id laws, citing no evidence for widespread voter fraud. It reads: "In its unanimous 56-page ruling, the federal judges found that the fees and the cost of traveling for those voters lacking one of the five forms of ID disproportionately affected the poor and minorities. “Moreover, while a 200- to 250-mile trip to and from a D.P.S. office would be a heavy burden for any prospective voter, such a journey would be especially daunting for the working poor,” the decision read, referring to the dozens of counties in Texas that do not have a D.P.S. office."

This [PolitiFact article][3] details the whopping 57 election fraud prosecutions in Texas from 2002 to 2012. Note that Texas has a population of 26 million people. Note also that studies have shown roughly 10% of legal voters in America lack the proper photo ID to satisfy voter ID laws. That would be more than one million Texas voters, many of whom live in counties without D.P.S. offices to acquire such I.D.. Even if an impossible 99% of them managed to acquire such I.D., that leaves 10,000 voters disenfranchised for the sake of a few dozen fraud cases. It is a disingenuous argument.

Give me some credible data to back up your claims, wallyworldguy.

[1]: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stori...
[2]: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/us/...
[3]: http://www.politifact.com/texas/state...

Posted 28 June 2013, 6:59 a.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

fatherof5 - How do you take from one question and determine that it came from Limbaugh(who I know is on radio - don't know what station) and I also know there is a foxnews, abcnews, nbcnews, cbsnews, cnnnews, some would say the Daily Show is news and multiple others and you pick out 2? Now that is what I call ESP working overtime. Or is it just that you watch and listen to those two programs so you know what everybody else thinks? I am amazed at some of the forgone conclusions without knowing the person involved. Lay out some of that incredible insight and maybe some of the rest of us can figure out what is going on in the world. :)

Posted 28 June 2013, 8:55 a.m. Suggest removal

downhillracer says...

It's simple. Limbaugh and Fox are the media arm of the TeaPublicans, they construct the "talking points" to used. Please stop pretending you don't know what station Limbaugh can be heard on in this valley, or the weight of his 'opinion' - that's just plain annoying.

Fatherof5 presents a significant amount of well-researched documentation for you to peruse and comment on, and all you can rebut is your deflection ?

Posted 28 June 2013, 9:56 a.m. Suggest removal

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