The recent dismal voter turnouts in New York are fostering a slew of ideas to encourage people to exercise what should be their cherished right. Just 29 percent of those eligible cast ballots during the 2014 statewide races, ranking it second to last for turnout among the 50 states, according to the group Nonprofit VOTE. The most recent presidential election turnout was the lowest since 1940, according to the U.S. Election Project. A new plan would turn the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November each year into a school holiday. But suspending education on Election Day, a measure that is being pushed by a couple of state lawmakers, is hardly a remedy for the problem of low turnout. It’s not the presence of young people in school buildings that is keeping would-be voters away. Many real obstacles, ranging from sloppy record-keeping to arcane rules and regulations, are a big cause. The most challenging hurdle may be voter apathy, fueled by an acrimonious political climate.
Some states have even taken steps that seem designed to discourage turnout. Thirty require picture IDs, which disproportionately reduces voter participation by low-income people and minorities – groups traditionally more likely to support Democrats.
Oregon and California have gone in the other direction. This year, both enacted laws that go far beyond the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which eased voter registration constraints. Employing new technology, they make it almost automatic for people to be registered, unless they choose to opt out.
In Oregon, virtually all of the processes of voter registration, party enrollment and applying for mail ballots can be completed online. California is also streamlining the process. New Jersey passed a similar bill, but it was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.
Full Article: Election holiday a bad idea – The Observation Deck.