Hillary Clinton made it clear this week that she is not just seeking votes, she is seeking to overhaul the way we vote. At speeches in Texas, Clinton railed against voter ID laws, praised efforts to expand early voting periods, and made the case for automatic voter registration. In the latter case, Clinton believes every American who turns 18 should be automatically registered to vote. She also would like to see everyone already over 18 registered in a similar way, though she declined to say how she would make this happen.
Clinton’s remarks on automatic voter registration come only months after President Obama mentioned the prospect of mandatory voting. Obama wasn’t proposing legislation by any means, but it’s clear that the Democrats feel the way forward is to get as many people to the polls as possible. Especially if the rules are so vague that even non-citizens are easily able to cast a ballot.
These proposals are difficult to fight because Republicans risk appearing as though they want to suppress certain voters when they make the case against these policies. And of course, that’s part of it. But that’s not all of it by a long shot. We owe it to our electoral system to make sure it is as free of fraud as we can get it. By following Clinton’s lead, it would be harder than ever to make sure that every vote is legitimate.
Automatic registration and mandatory voting go to another problem, and it’s one worth pausing to consider. Quite frankly, what is the benefit to making it easier for people to vote? It’s already about as easy as it can get. When we start talking about making it even easier (or mandatory), what portion of the population are we reaching out to? We’re reaching out to those unwilling to endure even the tiniest burdens of participation. In other words, those who couldn’t care less about elections. Is our country improved by bringing these people into the voting booth?
True the Vote issued a statement that said, “Clinton’s embrace of mandatory or ‘universal’ voter registration may sound above reproach, but the actual means to accomplish such a policy would risk substantial voter dilution for citizens.”
As an American citizen, you have the right to make your voice heard. But those rights come with certain civic responsibilities. If you care enough to vote, you should care enough to get informed. If you care enough to vote, you should care enough to get registered. And if you don’t care enough to take these small steps, then maybe you don’t care enough to vote.
Clinton and Obama make it sound as though they want to make us a more democratic country. In truth, they want the ignorant, the illegal, and the fraudulent to decide elections from here on out. That is, after all, their constituency.