News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
4th April 2008

Register and vote on the same day–why not?

posted in Local Politics |

MassVOTE is inviting people to join them at the State House on Tuesday, April 8, in support of S.2514, which would allow Election Day Registration.  This bill makes sense. Everyone complains about the lack of turnout at elections, so why not make it a little easier on people? Sure, democracy doesn’t have to be easy, but life is busy and confusing enough. Last November, I was urging a young friend of my son’s to vote in the local elections. Well,  he had been away at school and had never gotten around to registering and by that time had missed the cut-off date. Why choose an arbitrary cut-off day that’s weeks before the election (I think it’s 20 days in Mass) when technology makes it easy for us to streamline the process and allow people to just show up, register and vote. Seven states, including New Hampshire and Maine, have election day registration. Statistics show an increase in voter turnout in those states: for example, in 2004, four of these (ME, NH, WI and MN) were in the top ten for voter turnout.  The League of Women Voters reports that in 2006, five of the seven were in the top ten. There seems to be no evidence of increased voter fraud associated with same-day registration. In addition, same-day registration could motivate more young people to vote. I’m pretty sure my son’s friend would have voted last year and gotten into the habit of voting if the process had been more convenient. If you are interested in joining a group from Lowell to go down to the State House on Tuesday, contact us for information. At the very least, contact your representative by email or telephone and convey your support of same-day registration.

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