Mobile voting won’t be a thing in D.C. anytime soon. A crucial member of the D.C. Council says he won’t move forward with a bill to expand voting by phone in the District, dealing a blow to an effort to expand mobile voting across the country. The course reversal is a victory for election security advocates who have long argued that the technology isn’t ready for a widespread rollout, even as proponents argue it would be an effective way to boost voter turnout and accessibility. The D.C. bill had support from eight members of the 13-person Council and groups like the D.C. branch of the NAACP. But council member Charles Allen’s (D-Ward 6) opinion of the bill was especially important for its future because he chairs a committee that the bill would have to advance through.
District of Columbia Bill Would End Voter Registration As You Know It | Alex Burness/Bolts
Washington, D.C., may soon do away with voter registration as most Americans know it. Under a new bill, set to have its first council hearing on Friday, D.C. would mail ballots to people it knows are eligible, even if they are not registered. Drawing inspiration from Colorado, which many voting-rights experts characterize as the national standard for accessibility, the city would take information it collects when residents interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles and other agencies to maintain a constantly-updating list of people who are “preapproved” to vote. For people on that list, all there would be left to do is to vote come election time. “Traditionally, registration has been used as a way to keep people from voting,” Charles Allen, the D.C. councilmember who is sponsoring the legislation, told Bolts. “It’s a way to be a gatekeeper as to who you think should be able to vote.” Under Allen’s bill, voting itself would be the act of registration—at least for those the city identifies as prequalified. This would “make sure we are really reaching every single person we possibly can to make sure they can participate and have their voice heard,” Allen said.
Full Article: New Washington D.C. Bill Would End Voter Registration As You Know It | Bolts