There is a political maxim that the less people vote, the better Republicans do. The reverse obviously being that the more people vote the better Democrats do. To deal with this “problem” of people exercising their right to vote, Republicans have enacted a legion of voting restrictions. In the name of “protecting” the integrity of the vote, of course. And it’s been very effective is keeping millions of people away from the polls. At least for now.
You see, there’s a Democratic response to Republican voter suppression: Automatic Voter Registration. And it’s spreading:
On Tuesday, Connecticut became the fifth state in the nation to approve a system where residents are automatically registered to vote every time they visit a Department of Motor Vehicles, following the lead of Oregon, California, West Virginia, and Vermont. The state is the first, however, to implement the policy administratively rather than passing a bill through the legislature.
This is quite literally the worst case scenario for Republicans. While not everyone has a license or a state ID, most people do and now they’ll be registered to vote without having to jump through any extra hoops. Even worse, the usual excuses Republicans serve up to “protect” the vote won’t apply here. After all, if you qualify for a driver’s license, you obviously qualify to vote. The inevitable Republican resistance to automatic registration will look even more like voter suppression than Voter ID does.
It’s not a perfect system but it’s a huge improvement:
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill told ThinkProgress that an estimated 400,000 eligible voters will be added to the rolls.
“It shouldn’t be a big effort on anyone’s part to register to vote,” she said. “And once people take that first affirmative step of registering, it’s like their first act of citizenship. It makes them really go seek out info about elections and makes them much more likely to vote.
Say the words “more likely to vote” to a Republican and watch them cringe like a vampire facing a crucifix.
Sadly for Republicans, they won’t even be able to try to overturn the new registration setup in the courts. Unlike Voter ID, which is in serious jeopardy without a conservative controlled Supreme Court, there’s no rational case to be made against automatically registering people. Not that they won’t try, anyway. My guess is that they’ll claim it’s a violation of people’s right NOT to be registered.
The most delightful part of all of this is that even as Voter ID and voter suppression schemes get shut down, automatic voter registration will only spread further, dooming the party dependent on less voting to an electoral death spiral.
Featured image via IYON archives