Notes on a Theory…

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

We ask so little of Democratic public officials: lowering the barriers to voting

with 3 comments

While Republicans are sprinting to take away voting rights in the wake of Shelby (or doubling down, since they were already aggressively pushing voting barriers), you might think that Democrats would be doing the opposite.  Sadly, not everyone has gotten the message that the Democrats are the party of lowering voting barriers. From the Oregonian:

Legislation aimed at adding hundreds of thousands of registered voters in Oregon failed by a single vote in the state Senate on Sunday.

Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, joined with all 14 Republicans to defeat a bill that would automatically register eligible voters when they received new or updated driver licenses in Oregon.

Secretary of State Kate Brown had promoted House Bill 3521 as an ambitious way to remove barriers to voting and greatly increase voting participation in the state.  But critics, particularly from the Republican Party, said they feared the bill would lead to greater voter fraud in Oregon and that anyone who cared enough to vote should take personal responsibility for registering.

That latter point was crucial for Johnson, who has made it clear for several weeks that she opposes the bill, which had passed the House on a largely party-line vote.

“We ask so little of citizenship in this state and this nation,” said Johnson.  “It does not seem unduly burdensome to expect someone to simply take personal responsibility for registering.”

First, let’s note that automatic registration would make fraud less possible. Universal rules make cheating more difficult.  Unless, that is, you think that certain people voting is itself fraudulent. But why should we impose a costs on individuals in order for them to have the right to participate in elections?

We ask so little of Democratic public officials. It does not seem unduly demanding they not stand in the way of efforts to reduce the costs of democracy.

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Written by David Kaib

July 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm

3 Responses

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  1. That latter point was crucial for Johnson, who has made it clear for several weeks that she opposes the bill, ..

    So, Johnson proved that she’s a frackin’ idiot? Anyone know if she’s a member of ALEC, or a Blue Dog, or other type of DINO?

    Phil Perspective

    July 8, 2013 at 11:00 pm


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