Lawmakers Push for National Same-Day Registration

| Thu May 1, 2008 12:42 PM EDT

There has been bad news on voting rights lately, so this is particularly welcome:

Minnesota and Wisconsin lawmakers are seeking legislation that would require states to let people register to vote on the same day that a federal election is held.
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, along with Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, plan to introduce the bill on Thursday. The lawmakers, all Democrats, say that same-day registration will encourage more people to vote.

Here's Feingold's comment:

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"Election Day registration has worked well in Wisconsin for more than 30 years and is a major reason why Wisconsin is a national leader in voter turnout. By allowing people to register in person on Election Day, we can bring more people into the process, which only strengthens our democracy."

This will probably go nowhere in Congress, for obvious reasons: every time voting gets easier, more young voters, minority voters, and low-income voters turn out. And that means more Democratic votes, something Republicans will find all sorts of phony reasons to reject.

In a more perfect country we would do everything we could to get as many people involved as possible, regardless of age, race, or income. That means we would vote on weekends, over the course of a week, or on a national holiday. Registration would be allowed at the polling site. Absentee voting would be allowed without cause. And maybe, just maybe, we'd be able to vote online.