Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Every minute today an American is denied a ballot

An American walks up to the polling place and asks to vote.

Instead of getting a ballot, he or she is given an excuse.

"You're not on the list."

"You didn't register before the deadline -- which was a month ago."

"You didn't update your address. It's too late now."

And because that American lives in one of the 42 states that have not implemented same-day voter registration, that American walks away without voting.

This is happening every minute all day today.

It's sad. It's stupid. It's offensive to the idea of self-government.

And millions more Americans don't bother to try. They know they aren't registered at their current address and they know that their government won't allow them to register to vote today.

Why not? Because it's inconvenient. Or more insidiously, because some lawmakers don't want more people to vote. They'd rather only the "good" citizens vote.

These stupid, needless barriers particularly impact younger people who move every year, since the government requires citizens to tell some obscure government agency that they have moved weeks before the election - instead of telling the government on election day where they live.

I'll be working next year to remove more of these barriers so that on the next election day, we'll treat more Americans they way they do in Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Washington, D.C. and offer a voter registration, change of address form and ballot to citizens who proudly approach their polling place.

Want to join me?