Whenever there's an election in the United States, qualified voters are denied the right to vote because they haven't jumped through the hoops necessary to register.
Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers toil endless hours on a task that need not exist at all: registering voters.
But in 13 states, plus Washington D.C., registration is now automatic. There's no reason that your state can't be next to join this list: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
State legislators are listening. Dozens of states have already introduced legislation. Click here to urge your state representatives and governor to act swiftly.
With automatic voter registration -- an opt-out option instead of "jump through hoops to register," as required in many states -- nobody is required to vote or even be registered. Rather, a government that already knows who we are through motor vehicle and other departments simply allows us to vote. (And the DMV in many states requires stricter proof of identity and citizenship than does traditional registration; and traditional registration remains available.)
As a result, more people vote and candidates have to win the votes of more people. Quite possibly more candidates gain traction, and certainly those seeking to get on ballots gather fewer invalid signatures, making initiatives easier.
The state government saves the expense of the existing ridiculous system of "registering" people it already knows.
"Let's get [people] on the rolls automatically and put all the resources and energy we've put into voter registration into voter education," says California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
Volunteers could set aside the endless work of voter registration and instead promote the policy positions they care about.
Click to send an email to your state legislators and governor letting them know you want voter registration to be automatic.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
>> Oregonian: Arrival of Automatic Voter Registration
>> Sacramento Bee: Automatic Voter Registration Sought in California
>> The Nation: Oregon's Radical Innovation: Make Democracy Easy
>> Thirty-Nine States Do Automatic Registration . . . for a Draft
>> Connecticut to Automatically Register 400,000 Voters
>> MSNBC: Automatic voter registration expands its reach even further
>> Brennan Center for Justice: Automatic Voter Registration