Only eleven states in America allow voters to register to vote all the way up to election day. And apparently many politicians are against election day voter registration. But why?
What surprised me the most about this debate, if you can call it that, is that GOP politicians are particularly against election day voter registration. And they oppose it only because they think it favors Democrats, as far as I can tell. But there are multiple complications to the GOP resistance to EDR. For one, it’s probably not true that EDR favors Democrats:
Associate Professor Michael McDonald at George Mason University, [said] that early voting and same-day registration may, in some situations, benefit Democrats and, in others, benefit Republicans.
“It depends on the ability of the campaigns to mobilize voters,” he told me. “In different situations, Democrats may win the early vote. Republicans may win the early vote in other situations. It depends on the context.”
But even if election day voter registration actually did favor Democrats, that would not be a valid reason to reject it. Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to get the maximum number of legal citizens to vote, regardless of when they register to vote or for which party? This seems like a no-brainer. States with election day voter registration have higher voter turnout. I fail to see how that could possibly be a bad thing for America. Or America’s voters. The way to change the election results is not to restrict voting, it’s to change the hearts and minds of voters.
The only legitimate reason to resist election day voter registration would be if it increases voter fraud. But that may be the opposite of the reality. Election day voter registration requires an ID! Remember all those Voter ID laws for which GOP politicians have been criticized? People say Republicans are trying to use Voter ID laws to disenfranchise minorities.
Well, here’s a win-win. Pass election day voter registration laws and you effectively have Voter ID laws, with the added bonus of bipartisan support and good PR. The GOP needs to get on board. Why they continue to provide mindless fodder to the PC savagers is beyond me. With a little wisdom, they could accomplish their goals, and serve the electorate. At the same time. Imagine that.