Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Disenfranchisement of New Voters in Oregon Primary Benefits Clinton over Sanders

Yesterday, Joanne W. Young published a piece at the Daily Caller that further illustrates the dangers associated with mandatory voter registration. Oregon, a bastion for most things liberal, attempted to force mandatory registration through the DMV. This drew more than a few warnings from Young earlier this year. It turns out the initial concerns were well founded as new voters are likely being disenfranchised as a result of the system.
Oregon was the first state to enact a system of automatic or mandatory voter registration. At the beginning of 2016, Oregon began mandatorily registering its citizens to vote when they visited the Department of Motor Vehicles, changing from an “opt-in” to an “opt-out” registration system. Liberals hailed this as a leap forward in making voting easier for everyone and encouraging broader engagement by citizens in our democracy.

Mandatory voter registration is a new experiment in the United States, and there is no proof it will meet its intended goals. Indeed, there is evidence from other countries, such as Canada, that have had systems of mandatory voter registration for years that, instead of increasing voter engagement and turnout, it actually decreases it . . . .

The issue will undoubtedly effect many voters in the Oregon primary today as those who are not declared for a party will be unable to vote given the state’s primary rules.

Oregon is a closed primary state, meaning that only those voters registered with a political party may vote in that party’s primary. The government cannot choose a party for a person, so by default, all new voters registered through the mandatory voter registration system areregistered as non-affiliated voters. To be registered with a party, new voters, who did not take the initiative to register to vote, must take the initiative to proactively indicate a party on a follow-up postcard they mail back to the Secretary of State.

In what should come as a surprise to very few, many of those who were mandatorily registered failed to return the postcard and as a consequence will be unable to vote in the primary.

At the end of April, only 16 percent of new voters had returned the postcard selecting a party. Fully76 percent of newly registered voters did not return the card at all, meaning they are registered to vote but registered as not affiliated with any party. The Oregon presidential primary is May 17, and the deadline for registering with a party was April 26 . . . . 

Further complicating matters, Oregon is an entirely vote-by-mail state, meaning that those non-affiliated voters have not even received a ballot and may not realize they are being disenfranchised.

The mandatory voter registration process in Oregon has been a glaring failure on many levels. It has achieved only the exact opposite of what it was advertised to do. Other countries have shown its impact to be at best negligible, and more than likely detrimental. 

The recent voter disenfranchisement in Oregon simply adds to a growing list of questionable policies emanating from the left. Young goes on to discuss who the situation does likely help; none other than the Democratic “establishment candidate,” Hillary Clinton. While I personally loathe Sanders ideals and general platform, it is hard to look at the integrity of this election from his perspective and not cringe. Step by step, state by state, super delegate by super delegate, the establishment is stealing the Democratic nomination away from him. Elections should have integrity. As Joanne Young pointed out regarding the New Hampshire primary in February, elections should always be right and just, not stolen.

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