Election Day registration makes sense…VBM not so much

An interesting editorial from Massachusettes:

Gatehouse News Service

The age in which every citizen considered voting a solemn obligation is long past. People vote inconsistently, especially people who have recently moved. They forget the rules, the polling places and that bureaucratic requirement that they register to vote at least 20 days before Election Day.

By the time the election comes around, these people may be fired up to cast their ballots, which is no surprise. Fifty percent of campaign advertising is done in the last week of the campaign. But if you’re not registered, you can’t vote — at least not here in Massachusetts.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In six states — Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, New Hampshire and Iowa — would-be voters can register on Election Day. They just bring the same type of identification required the rest of the year, and an elections clerk can certify the form and let them vote. Massachusetts should be added to the list of states enacting this commonsense reform.

Critics worry about voter fraud, but there’s no evidence unscrupulous voters have taken advantage of Election Day registration. Other procedures, like mail-in registration and absentee voting, are easier targets for fraud. And for all the hand-wringing in some political circles — some of it self-serving — the problem isn’t people voting more than once; the problem is people not voting at all.

Hmm… the editorialists points out that absentee voting is more likely to be subject to fraud than Election Day registration. While I tend to agree, it would be important to find real stats on this. Obviously the current state of election stats is such that it won’t settle the question soon.

But at the core the sentiment of this article is on the money, IMHO.

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