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Thread: California looks like it's about to start automatically registering people to vote

  1. #1

    California looks like it's about to start automatically registering people to vote

    At the end of last week, both houses of California's legislature passed a bill that would automatically register adult citizens to vote.

    The bill, the California New Motor Voter Act, now awaits the expected signature of the state's governor, Jerry Brown.

    If the California bill becomes law, then starting in 2016, every adult citizen in the state who gets a driver's license, renews a license, gets a state identification card, or fills out a change of address form with the Department of Motor Vehicles will be registered to vote unless he or she declines to be registered.

    Earlier this year, Oregon became the first state in the country to automatically register voters. California would become the second. (North Dakota is the only US state with no voter registration system at all.)

    Democrats in California's legislature overwhelmingly supported the bill, but Republicans overwhelmingly opposed it, with several citing concerns about potential voter fraud.

    About one-fifth of the state's 38 million people are eligible to vote, but not registered, according to the Los Angeles Times's Patrick McGreevy.
    Why automatic registration is such a big deal

    Federal laws already allow people across the country the option to register to vote at the DMV. But Oregon's recent law and California's bill are pioneering because they do it automatically.

    It's hard to overstate how novel this concept is for the US. Throughout much of United States history, governments frequently put up barriers aimed at preventing people from voting, such as property ownership requirements, poll taxes, or literacy tests.

    Gradually, many of these barriers have fallen to make it easier for people to register. However, many states, including California, still close off registration weeks to a month before an election an artificial obstacle that can prevent perfectly qualified people from voting if they simply miss a deadline.

    These new proposals remove those obstacles. Oregon's law will register all adult citizens in the DMV's database, while California's bill would be implemented more gradually, as people get or renew their licenses or state IDs, or change their addresses. But both make it the government's responsibility to ensure that all eligible voters are registered.

    So it's a big deal that governments are now trying to make it easier and easier to vote, rather than more difficult. Matt Yglesias has argued for going even further and enshrining an affirmative right to vote in our Constitution read his case here.

    Support and opposition have been breaking down along party lines

    In both California and Oregon, Republicans opposed these proposals, but generally didn't argue against the principle of easing registration. Instead, the criticisms have fallen along two main lines.

    First, critics have argued that since voter registration data is more publicly accessible than DMV information, automatically adding voters to the rolls could pose privacy concerns. However, supporters respond that people can always opt out.

    Second, some Republicans have cited concerns about voter fraud usually about potential registration of unauthorized immigrants. But while California began issuing driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants this year, these licenses are distinctively marked, and people with them would not be registered to vote automatically. And Oregon requires proof of citizenship for all driver's license applicants.

    Meanwhile, national Democrats are increasingly adopting mandatory voter registration as a major cause. In a speech on voting rights this June, Hillary Clinton called on all states to automatically register citizens to vote when they turn 18, unless they choose to opt out. And legislators in 15 other states have introduced bills similar to Oregon's new law the Brennan Center is tracking them here.

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  3. #2
    I'll SWAG, only Democrats for the PRC.

  4. #3
    Can illegal aliens get a drivers license and then vote? I know they can a license
    "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it."
    James Madison

    "It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." - Samuel Adams

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  5. #4
    We've had motor voter in VA for at least 20 years.
    And in 1997 I knew a noncitizen who had gotten a voter card.
    I don't know what the problem is, though... the name of the game is representative democracy.
    If this system works, and everyone keeps saying it does, then you have nothing to complain about.
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  6. #5
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    'We endorse the idea of voluntarism; self-responsibility: Family, friends, and churches to solve problems, rather than saying that some monolithic government is going to make you take care of yourself and be a better person. It's a preposterous notion: It never worked, it never will. The government can't make you a better person; it can't make you follow good habits.' - Ron Paul 1988

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    'Resistance and Disobedience in Economic Activity is the Most Moral Human Action Possible' - SEK3

    Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.

    ...the familiar ritual of institutional self-absolution...
    ...for protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment...

  7. #6
    They do not say what is the default party nor if the choice can be influenced by a DMV clerk in a state where "we are pretty much all democrats here!" is the norm.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    We've had motor voter in VA for at least 20 years.
    And in 1997 I knew a noncitizen who had gotten a voter card.
    I don't know what the problem is, though... the name of the game is representative democracy.
    If this system works, and everyone keeps saying it does, then you have nothing to complain about.
    Of course ! And, btw, do not pay attention to that man behind the curtain!

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