We agree with the President’s words at the State of the Union regarding voting:
We've got to make voting easier, not harder, and modernize it for the way we live now.
However, his words are not backed up by his actions. For example, the President’s own Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) recognized the need for clean voter rolls. We wholeheartedly agree with this as we wrote in our official response:
RNLA generally agrees with the analysis and recommendations to reform states’ voter registration processes. Enhancing the integrity of the rolls through the use of technology and interstate and intrastate data sharing, and holding states accountable for compliance with federal law will result in significant improvements to our voter rolls that will ensure reliable rosters for Election Day, thereby ensuring a smoother voting process.
Yet instead of working on these proposals, President Obama and leading Democrats such as Hillary Clinton have called for mandatory registration. Mandatory registration guarantees inaccurate voting rolls which will ensure a more chaotic voting process. We wish President Obama, Secretary Clinton, liberal groups, and others would work on the areas of bipartisan agreement to move forward to make voting easier, not harder through practices such as mandatory registration (which does not increase turnout).
If President Obama truly wanted to improve the voting process he would push for other recommendations of the PCEA:
RNLA strongly agrees with the PCEA’s recommendations that states transition from paper to electronic poll books. Electronic poll books speed up the check-in process because election workers can search a field by typing in the voter’s name rather than flipping through hundreds of paper pages. They also result in a more accurate roster of those who have checked in and voted at the polling place. The ability to, in real time, accurately identify those voters checking-in, including those who have already voted, will help to combat fraud and abuse.
Instead of pushing for this sort of modernization, President Obama has wasted Presidential capital on this topic in areas such as mandatory voting, which would force a poll tax on those who chose not to vote. While we hope the President is sincere in his desire to make voting easier and to “modernize” the process, we would like to see some action in support of these sorts of proposals instead of harmful campaign rhetoric on mandatory voting and registration.