Entwining Two Rights in California: Voting and Driving
Per my comment in my last email about voting rights, here's an editorial in the NYT about it:
For all the early excitement stirred by the presidential primary contests, a greater test of democracy than the candidates' cut-and-thrust will be voter participation, a vital statistic which dropped from 62.3 percent in 2008 to 57.5 percent in the last presidential election. In part because of a welter of obstructionist state laws, more than 90 million Americans did not bother or care to vote in 2012.
The Democratic-majority Legislature in California, the most populous state, has just taken a major step toward resisting this alarming trend by approving a system of automatic voter registration for any citizen who obtains or updates a California driver's license. Modeled on Oregon's excellent "motor-voter" program, the new system cannot help but increase democratic participation.
I actually think we should go a step further and making voting a REQUIREMENT (like jury duty), as Australia does.
I keep pounding on this issue for two reasons: a) the fact that poor and minority folks vote in far lower numbers is directly related, I believe, to the horribly inferior schools that our nation provides their children; and b) the concerted attempt to suppress the voter registration and turnout of poor and minority folks is so un-American and so racist that it makes me so mad I can't see straight! I'm a Democrat (and there are many like me) who's willing to blast my own party when it does terrible things (like pander to the teachers unions and throw poor kids under the bus). But where are any Republicans willing to stand up against these disenfranchisement efforts?! A true patriot would say, "Even if increased voter turnout hurts my party, it's the right thing to do for our democracy so I support it."