One in six Ohio youth are left out of voter registration drive
Ohio's campaign to boost youth voter registration, by mailing how-to postcards in August to 120,000 unregistered young adults with driver licenses or state IDs, is getting praise from voting rights activists.
But some of those advocates say the campaign has a serious flaw: Increasing numbers of young people, especially the poor and minorities, aren't getting their licenses or signing up for the IDs. At least 17 percent of Ohio's 18-year-olds don't have either, the Cleveland Plain Dealer calculated based on state records and census estimates.
The potential communications gap between the state and its young people extends to another issue involving voting: The easiest ways to update a registration is with an online form, but it's only available to people with a license or ID.
Several states offer voters online options that don't require such documents. Minnesota uses Social Security numbers to confirm IDs, for example, while Delaware and Missouri accept signatures from touch-screen devices.
Neal is federal government affairs manager at R Street Institute, a nonpartisan and pro-free-market public policy research organization.
The term "democratic norms" has become a misnomer over the last year. America's governing institutions are undermined by elected officials who dishonor their offices and each other. Standards of behavior and "normal" processes of governance seem to be relics of a simpler time. Our democracy has survived thus far, but the wounds are many.
Free speech and free press have been the White House's two consistent whipping posts. Comments such as "I think it is embarrassing for the country to allow protestors" and constant attacks on press credibility showcase President Trump's disdain for the pillars of democracy. Traditional interactions between the administration and the press are no longer taken for granted. Demeaning, toxic criticisms have become so common that they're being ignored. As the administration revokes critics' press passes and daily briefings are canceled, normalcy in this arena is sorely missed.
Having had remarkable success at signing people up to vote in Texas last year, an Austin group of activists is expanding its pilot program into a full-blown national effort to overcome the sometimes ignored first hurdle for people in the voting process — registration.
"There are millions of voters who are registered who don't get out to vote," said Christopher Jasinski, director of partnerships for Register2Vote. "But the unmeasured part of the pie is the actual number of unregistered voters."