Look, the government knows who you are, through your social security number, driver’s license, post office mailing address, and probably a hundred other ways of confirming your identity.
Why then do we need an extra requirement for voting registration? Why should the most basic right of anyone in a democracy have such difficult stringent conditions?
Isn’t voting the basis of our system of government, the one we proudly hold up as an example to the rest of the world? Who wouldn’t want everyone to vote?
Well, the answer is simple: The rich and powerful. Since the founding of our country, the idea has been that the common rabble shouldn’t be deciding important matters that democracy’s elite nobility rightly should deal with.
We commoners have fought against this notion since then (when you had to be a white, male, property owner to vote). Little by little, with hard-fought battles, the barriers have fallen.
And the rich and powerful fought back, with poll taxes and literacy tests, and eventually those were eliminated as well.
Today, the rich and powerful are represented by the Republican party that knows perfectly well that the more people who vote, the worse the Republicans do — so they have tried over and over again to restrict voting and place as many barriers in the way of voters as they can. They scream about non-existent voter fraud but admit in private (when they don’t realize they are being recorded) that the whole point of it all is to keep us commoners from voting.
As you can expect, the smarter people on the right are discussing this as if it will lead to massive fraud and elections being stolen* while the rubes who follow them are more blatant, posting comments that reveal that the racist idea behind poll taxes and literacy tests hasn’t ever died. (Note: Fox News has yet to remove all these racist comments from their web page. They know who their audience is.)
There’s more that can be done to encourage voting of course besides simply making registration easier — mail-in voting has been tremendously successful in the states that have tried it, increasing participation without a single incident of fraud. And “early voting,” which allows people a week or so to vote, also has proven to work.
But automatic registration? A good first step.
* yeah, I know — ironic, right?