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Monday, March 23, 2015

Making Voter Registration Easier

Much was made last week of President Obama saying he thinks voting should be mandatory.

One problem: he never said that.

Despite the headline on the CNN video below, Obama never said Americans should be forced to vote. He mentioned that it is mandatory in Australia (along with 25 other countries), and said if everyone in America voted it would be transformative, but he did not suggest that we should have a law forcing you to vote. See for yourself...

Considering how many people ginned up negative public opinion about the idea (mostly because Obama supposedly said it), I'm in favor of fewer people voting -- or at least removing that right from those who base faulty opinions on incorrect information from some political/media loudmouth.

It's mostly Republicans who want to dissuade people from voting, because that party does best when turnout is low (see the 2010 and 2014 midterms, or most statewide elections). But when large numbers of people do show up, Democrats do better (see every presidential election in the last 25 years except 2004). That's why the right is in the voter disenfranchisement business, including reinstating voter ID laws despite no evidence of widescale election fraud.

In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown just signed a new law that makes it incredibly easy to register for vote. All you have to do is go to the DMV and get a driver's license and, boom, you're automatically eligible to take part in the next election. How does it work, what were the politics behind it, and how effective is Oregon's vote-by-mail system? I put all of those questions to Jeff Mapes, senior political reporter for The Oregonian...

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Previously on Harris Online...