Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday that U.S. election officials should register eligible voters automatically and take steps to reduce the long lines Americans encountered in national elections on November 6. In a speech in Boston, Holder became the highest-ranking official to call for voting changes since President Barack Obama expressed exasperation with the hours-long lines during his re-election victory speech last night. “Modern technology provides ways to address many of the problems that impede the efficient administration of elections,” Holder said.
The United States has a patchwork election system, relying on local officials in 50 states and the District of Columbia to process the paperwork needed to register – without the use of a national ID card that some other democracies use.
Registering to vote is a necessary step to be eligible to cast a ballot in almost every U.S. state, and some jurisdictions require the paperwork weeks before Election Day.
All the paperwork is handled at the local or state level, and new paperwork is needed when someone moves.
The safeguards are in place to prevent a problem that rarely, if ever occurs, largely because few people are willing to risk felony charges to influence an election, Holder said.
“You can’t get groups of sufficient numbers of people that are willing to face that possibility and try to influence an election, which is why in-person voter fraud simply doesn’t exist to the extent that some on the right have said that it does,” Holder told a crowd of several hundred at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.