Automatic voter registration grows rolls a lot, study finds
Automatic registration laws have significantly increased the number of people signed up to vote, a new study finds.
Fifteen states and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws in the past five years under which anyone eligible to vote is registered when they interact with a government agency, such as a department of motor vehicles, unless those people ask to opt out.
The liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, which supports easier ballot access, studied the eight jurisdictions where the laws have been on the books long enough to generate significant data. They concluded the voter rolls had surged significantly in each place above what the increase would have been without automatic voter registration. The biggest gain was in Georgia, where the ranks of registered voters soared from 6 million to almost 7 million between 2014 and last fall — what the Brennan Center viewed as a 94 percent increase above what would have been expected without the new law.
The other gains:
- Vermont: 60 percent
- Rhode Island: 47 percent
- Alaska: 34 percent
- California: 27 percent
- Colorado: 16 percent
- Oregon: 16 percent
- Washington, D.C.: 9 percent
Automatic voter registration is one of a handful of voting rights proposals in H.R. 1, which the Democratic House passed along party lines but the Republican-majority Senate does not plan to debate.
The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.
FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."
Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.
Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.
The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.
A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.
Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.