Automatic voter registration is being discussed in a number of states right now as a solution to election administration problems. It is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately two recent op-eds highlight some of the problems. First, from a non-partisan perspective, Joanne Young focuses on problems with the Department of Motor Vehicles in a recent article entitled “The DMV has a Terrible Track Record of Handling Voter Registration”:
Whether through DMV errors or the organization of an automatic voter registration system, the risk of voter disenfranchisement in closed primaries is substantial. Given that there is no proof that automatic voter registration helps increase voter participation (voter participation actually went down when Canada adopted it), states should focus on fixing the existing system that is supposed to help voters register and update their registrations, instead of rushing into automatic voter registration.
Unlike acquiring an identification card or driver’s license from the DMV, a process that everyone understands, it is much harder to explain needing to register twice: once automatically and once with a party.
J. Christian Adams lays out the case for the more insidious reasons for the left’s support of automatic voter registration in a more politically charged op-ed entitled “Democrats and the New Jim Crow”:
This is the perfect scenario for the disenfranchisement of ordinary Walmart Democrat voters in favor of leftists and the Democratic Party elite. Only insiders and people who understand the system will be able to vote in the primaries. It’s too late if you learn this on election day.
The leftists love mandatory voter registration for another reason. While more mainstream Democrats are disenfranchised in the primaries, it is a different story in November. Republicans, Green Party members, Libertarians, and independents are disenfranchised in the general election when legal votes are cancelled by the lawless voting.
Regardless of your political background, all should agree that automatic voter registration and an increased role for the DMV in voter registration are not solutions to election administration problems.