February 2012, Week 3


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
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Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:51:56 -0500
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Pew Study Shows Need for Modern Voting System
By Wendy Weiser & Lianna Reagan
Brennan Center
February 14, 2012


find the Pew study here

and the Brennan Center proposal here

Today, the Pew Center on the States released a report
detailing some of the serious flaws in our voter
registration systems, the lynchpin of election
administration. Their study reaffirms what election
administrators and voter advocates have known for a long
time - that the voter rolls are filled with errors, and
an unconscionable percentage (almost a quarter,
according to Pew) of American citizens who are eligible
to vote are not registered.

The flaws identified in the Pew study are the result of
an outdated, paper- based voter registration system that
is not only inefficient and costly, but prone to
inaccuracy. Worse, the clunky system leaves off millions
of eligible voters or contains errors in their records
that could prevent them from voting effectively. The
question is no longer whether we should upgrade the
system, but how we should do so. Recent technological
innovations point the way to the solution: modernizing
the system.

The Brennan Center's voter registration modernization
proposal would address all the problems identified by
the Pew study. Our plan includes automated registration
of eligible voters at other governmental agencies
(automatically transferring the records of consenting
citizens to election authorities), online registration
and access (enabling citizens to register to vote or
check and update their registration online), permanent
state registration (ensuring that a voter's registration
record moves with her when she moves within a state),
and an Election Day failsafe to correct any errors and
omissions. Experiences in the states demonstrate that
our plan increases accuracy and registration rates,
saves money, and minimizes the potential for fraud. The
Brennan Center has developed a model state bill, and
numerous states have already adopted components of voter
registration modernization.

Voter registration is the first step to voting, the most
important civic duty that Americans have.  It is simply
unacceptable for our modern democracy to rely on an
incomplete, outdated, inaccurate, and expensive voter
registration system like that used in many parts of the
country. We should be a model of election
administration, not lagging behind other democracies.

To be clear, Pew's findings do not justify the
restrictive voting policies we see being passed in some
states. It is not easy or strategic to impersonate
someone at the polls. Rather than erecting barriers
between eligible American citizens and their right to
vote, we should be opening pathways to a modern voting

Voter registration modernization is essential to help
bring election administration into the 21st century, and
states should take advantage of all opportunities,
including the Pew technology, to move closer to voter
registration modernization.


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