If Americans needed any further proof that voting itself has become a partisan battleground, look no further than proposals calling for automatic voter registration. California this month enacted a law that will automatically register people to vote when they get or renew a driver’s license or state identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), following the example set by Oregon several months ago. Over time, this could bring most of the 6.6 million Californians who are eligible but not yet registered onto the voting rolls. Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state and sponsor of the measure, calls it potentially the largest voter registration drive in U.S. history. Other states could soon follow. Legislators have introduced automatic voter registration bills in 16 additional states, including Hawaii, Illinois and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia. New Jersey lawmakers approved a package that includes automatic voter registration in June. Republican Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t acted on it, but he’s made his opposition clear.
“The current process creates an unnecessary barrier for citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said state Sen. Andy Manar, a sponsor of the Illinois measure. “And it’s an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.”
The states where bills have seen real movement, however, are all blue states. In states where Republicans control the legislature — including Georgia, South Carolina and Texas — measures have mostly languished in committee.
Supporters argue that the real reason for Republican opposition is the party’s worry that automatic registration would boost the number of poor and young voters — groups that favor Democrats. But Republicans complain that automatically registering people to vote based on their DMV status will result in more fraud because, for example, teens still too young to vote and undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses.
Full Article: Which States Could Adopt Automatic Voter Registration Next?.