A few weeks ago Alabama enacted new Jim Crow laws disguised as budget cuts. If you missed it the just of the issue is that you need a driver’s license or other form of photo ID to vote. However due budget cuts, Alabama is closing 31 satellite DMVs. Those satellite DMVs happen to be instate’s majority-black counties. Thus getting that ID that you need to vote is a lot harder. On the other hand some states are making it easier. For instance California has automatic voter registration if you are getting or renewing your driver’s license. California is just the second state in the country to pass this law, Oregon was the first.
“Citizens should not be required to opt-in to their fundamental right to vote. We do not have to opt-in to other rights, such as free speech or due process. The right to vote should be no different. ” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
We can only hope that every state adopts this law. Jerry Brown, California Governor signed the bill in to law yesterday. Its not that hard to have citizens participate in democracy if a state wants to. Sadly as we have seen with Alabama its also not hard to stifle citizens right to vote as well. As you can imagine with positive laws like this that give minorities a bigger voice also make some people extremely unhappy. Some Republicans say automatic registration could lead to voter fraud if people who are not eligible are accidentally registered and also increasing voter registration will not make people more engaged citizens. I disagree with that. Just look at Australia where it is compulsory for all Australian citizens to enroll and vote in federal elections.