All the pundits seem to want to get as many people to register to vote as possible. It is said that we must ease the barriers of registering to vote. What barriers? We can register at the library, the fire house, post office, city government offices, on the web. If it is really that difficult to register, how tough it is to vote, to pick up a pen and fill in your ballot, take it to the voting booth and use it to wiz through the official voting ballot.
The Motor Voter Bill is officially called AB-1461 Motor Voter Act. It is estimated that about 6.6 million eligible voters are not registered to vote. This bill will attempt to get them registered when they apply for or renew their driver’s licenses. At this time, information will be taken from each person for registration purposes, including party preference. There are 5 officially recognized political parties in California: American Independent, Democratic, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, Green and Republican to register you to vote. You will also be given the option to choose No Party Preference, which used to be called decline to state.
Here is how the process will work once the DMV and Secretary of State work out details. Anybody obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or gets a State Identification card, will be asked to affirm their eligibility to vote and will be given the choice of opting out of registering at that time. For those who opt in on registering, their information will be transmitted from the DMV to the secretary of state’s office, where citizenship will be verified and names will be added to the voter rolls. This should be ready by June 2016. It is also interesting to note that you are already afforded the opportunity to register to vote at the DMV, this takes it further by shoving it down your throat. Do we really need to shove the responsibility of voting down the throats of citizens to make them a caring citizen?
In our last general election in 2014, only 42.2 percent of registered voters submitted ballots and those were people who registered all by themselves without this new easy do for you program. Honestly, if you have to make it so easy to get them to register, I don’t believe that the percentage of voters will increase, quite the contrary, it will actually go down because you will have more people registered who really don’t care to be.
The belief is, if everyone votes that’s a good thing. That may be true if everyone did their homework, voting with complete knowledge of all the candidates and legislation. Personally, I research every ballot measure before I vote; it takes a bit of time, sometimes more than a day, but how can you not do your research if you really care about the country and your community? But many don’t take the time and vote blind, having done no research to understand the bill, but instead voting with the herd. An eenie meenie mini moe process just doesn’t cut it when voting for our future.
If, because of the new Motor Voter bill, more people are registered to vote, it doesn’t mean they will vote or that they will take the time to understand the issues and candidates. I hope that newly registered voters from this process take the time needed to do their homework before casting their votes.
Authored by Chamber Board Member Carl San Miguel