The Democrats are going on the offensive to make voting easier. The draft language in the party’s 2016 platform is much stronger than it was in 2012, and that’s mostly good for democracy. The party’s shift from its defensive crouch started in the states, with the adoption of automatic-voter registration rules in Oregon, California, West Virginia, Connecticut, Vermont and Illinois. Hillary Clinton endorsed these efforts last summer, and now the national Democratic platform is being written accordingly. The smorgasbord of measures includes an expected call to restore Voting Rights Act provisions that the Supreme Court weakened as well as a relatively new fight at the national party level for “voting rights for those who have served their sentences,” referring to former felons. Currently, many states delay restoring the vote to ex-felons, and some states have a lifetime ban.
Democrats also will support “expanding early voting and vote-by-mail, implementing universal automatic voter registration, same day voting, ending partisan and racial gerrymandering, and making Election Day a national holiday.” Most important here is the automatic registration combined with Election Day voter sign-up for anyone who isn’t already registered. In most democracies in the world, registration is not a barrier to voting.
The other ideas — more early voting and by mail, and an Election Day holiday, plus an end to gerrymandering — are more complicated. First off, gerrymandering is out of place on this list of reforms. It’s easy for the party currently in the minority, as the Democrats are in most state legislatures right now, to pledge to oppose the drawing of congressional district lines based on partisan advantage. But few Democrats would want to hold the party to that if they win majorities in those bodies.
Full Article: Democrats Get Serious About Voting Rights – Bloomberg View.