AG Holder Advocates National Automatic Voter Registration System

Voting Rights

New Orleans    Remember the election six weeks ago?  Fierce fights about voter suppression came before the voting and then long lines in state after state were the result of continued obstacles for the electorate.  President Obama in echoes of his recent statement about gun control on election night said, “We need to fix that.”   Finally, Attorney General Eric Holder in a speech recently raised the issue again.  Most of the reports on his remarks are scarecrow thin on the rightwing blogs and websites as a “call to arms.”

Bloomberg News is the key source for the stories saying only:

The U.S. should consider automatically registering eligible voters and extending voting hours to counter the November election’s long lines and administrative hurdles, Attorney General Eric Holder said.  Holder, speaking today at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, proposed expanding access for voters and overhauling a registration system he called “antiquated.”   “It is important for national leaders, academic experts, and members of the public to engage in a frank, thorough and inclusive discussion about how our election systems can be made stronger and more accessible,” Holder said in prepared remarks.

Not much there?  Seems like he was barely raising the flag to see who might salute.

The Atlanta Black Star came with some more details, but everything fell far short of specifics:

Holder advocated for the use of a national registration system through the use of existing databases. The federally managed system would maintain polling standards in every state, and individual polling locations.  “Modern technology provides ways to address many of the problems that impede the efficient administration of elections,” Holder said during the speech. “We could not only improve the integrity of our elections, but save precious taxpayer resources.”  “We must acknowledge that giving our fellow citizens access to the voting booth for longer hours and over additional days will enable more of them to cast their ballots without unduly interfering with the work or family obligations that so many have,” he added.  Legislation aimed at improving the voting process has already been proposed, such as the LINE Act, which would allow the attorney general to set national standards for resources at polling places, and the FAST Voting Act, which would financially reward states that improved their voting process.

He also said the obvious:  Republicans will move to block automatic universal voter registration, believing that “too much democracy is a bad thing.”  George Will, the rightwing columnist came out firing that nonvoters don’t bother not because of obstacles, but  because they “are content.”  Poppycock and hogwash!

There needs to be a real proposal on voter enfranchisement with specifics.  This needs to be a serious debate, just like gun control, not just window dressing.

Let’s make democracy mean something for a change.