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Monday, December 09, 2019

Cynthia Tucker: Time To Fix Voter Registration

Cynthia Tucker writes that it’s time to address America’s serious voter registration problem, in her column, “Voter Registration Flaws Need Remedies, Not Exploitation:”

A few years ago, as I waited in a long line to vote at my local precinct, I overheard some mumbled complaints about the elderly poll workers assisting with ballots and voter rolls. Some of them were clearly flummoxed by newly installed computer databases and wasted precious minutes searching for names, addresses and other vital identifiers.

Voting in America is already a trial designed to ferret out the hardiest and most committed citizens, someone whispered. Why complicate it further with poorly trained poll workers?

Now comes a new report by the highly respected Pew Center on the States that suggests those longtime poll workers were probably not the problem. They were likely struggling with voter rolls that were riddled with inaccuracies; Pew found that voter registration systems around the country are “plagued with errors and inefficiencies.”

That’s the widespread mess that Republican-led legislatures around the country have responded to over the last few years with a spate of tough new voter ID laws, right? Knowing that voter registration rolls are rife with outdated addresses and misspelled names, they have moved to stave off the threat of fraud, right?

Well, no. If there is any system that is worse off than the nation’s voter registration rolls, it’s the political system that ought to be prepared to fix voter registration. Instead, our politicians are busy dismissing real issues while inventing pseudo-problems that align with their partisan ideals and preconceived notions. Harsh laws that mandate state-sponsored photo IDs will do next to nothing to solve the problems pointed out in the Pew study.

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