• Reed Perkins

Policy: Automatic Voter Registration

Minnesotans should be extremely proud of our lakes, football team, and voter turnout percentage. In both 2016 and in 2018, we had the highest voter participation rate in the country. [1] We understand the importance of participating in the election process and to that end, we should make that process of registering to vote an opt-out rather than opt-in process.

Right now, in order to be registered to vote, you have to contact the state and fill out a form. The idea behind this policy would be to make it so that you are automatically registered to vote at a specific time unless you tell the state you don't want to be.

We're seeing a bipartisan push for similar legislation in both Republican and Democratic leaning states like West Virginia and Vermont. [2] Voters in Alaska just passed a ballot measure that allowed automatic voter registration from applying for some of the state's public services. The most recent state to have fully implemented automatic voter registration is Oregon and we can look at them to see what impacts the policy had in the 2018 voter count. [3]

Oregon's policy ensures that when you register for a new driver's license or renew an existing one at the DMV, you are automatically registered to vote and sent a postcard that allows you to identify with a party or to opt-out of the process. The DMV inclusion is why their policy has been dubbed 'Motor Voter.' This process almost quadrupled the monthly average of people registering to vote. [4]

Helping citizens more easily register to vote has a number of effects:

- Citizens have an easier time responding positively or negatively to their representatives.

- Politicians have to spend more time interacting with the people they are supposed to represent when a larger percentage of their electorate are potential voters.

- Governments aren't inundated with huge numbers of voter applications immediately before an election and therefor risks like a computer going down causing huge delays for people is lessened.

Detractors of the policy claim that in enhances the chances of fraud, but their continues to be no evidence of the two being linked. [5]

This is a policy endorsed by such non-partisan groups as the league of women voters. [6] It's a policy that Minnesotans understand the importance of and it's a policy we should look to enact soon.

We do have elections coming up in Minnesota on 11/5 and if you need to register to vote or have any questions about that process you can do so at this link. [7]

[1] https://ballotpedia.org/Voter_turnout_in_United_States_elections

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/us/jury-out-on-effectiveness-as-some-states-make-voting-easier.html

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/02/us/politics/oregon-voter-registration.html

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/14/opinion/states-prove-that-voter-registration-at-the-dmv-works.html

[5] https://apnews.com/f5f6a73b2af546ee97816bb35e82c18d

[6] https://lwvlc.org/wp-content/uploads/Nov-2018-EM-Voting-Rights-and-Improving-Elections-Final.pdf

[7] https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/register-to-vote/

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Reed Perkins

I'm running for State Senate in Minnesota's 1st district because your voice deserves to be heard.

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