Thursday, April 4, 2013

Food for Thought on AB 440/SDR

So today's been the big day. AB 440 & AB 441 faced a big hearing in the Assembly Legislative Operations & Elections Committee. AB 440 calls for same day voter registration (SDR), and AB 441 establishes election day vote centers.

There's been plenty of testimony today. Secretary of State Ross Miller (D) and Assembly Member James Ohrenschall (D-Sunrise Manor) began by explaining their legislation. And then, Clark County Election Department Chief Larry Lomax spoke. Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey (R-Reno) specifically asked him about the great, nonexistent "voter fraud crisis". Here's Lomax's response.

Following him was PLAN's Howard Watts. He explained the real voter problem here, which is that far too many voters are disenfranchised.

Owly Images
Owly Images

Those sentiments were echoed quite cogently by the Nevada State Education Association's Gary Peck.

And local progressive super-volunteer and voter registration maven Teresa Crawford shared her personal experience. Yes, otherwise legitimate voters couldn't exercise their right to participate in our democracy. Why? They missed the arbitrary deadline.

Owly Images

Earlier in the hearing, Assembly Member Lucy Flores (D-North Las Vegas) stated, "If a single person [who could legally vote] hasn't had a chance to vote, then we haven't done our job." That's the problem right now. People who can otherwise legally vote can't because they just couldn't make an arbitary deadline set up by the government.

And funny enough, another Assembly Member has personal experience with this proposed solution. When Elliot Anderson (D-Winchester) lived in Wisconsin, he personally took advantage of that state's SDR law. Why? He found out about a local election at the last minute. And let's face it, many in this state don't even realize approaching state & federal general elections until the last minute!

And let's face it, most people's lives are hectic. They don't pay as close attention to politics and elections as we do. I've personally run into family & friends who couldn't vote... Just because they missed the registration deadline.

These people are not out to commit fraud. They're not interested in any kind of nefarious electioneering. They just want to cast their legal right to vote. So why are we stopping them with the current arbitrary deadline?

Think about it.

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