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Voting in America: A Case Against Universal Voting Registration

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By    |   Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 10:40 PM

While proponents of universal voting registration promote it to fight voter fraud, others oppose such a policy, saying it could infringe on citizens’ right to privacy among other problems.

Universal voting registration policy would have the government automatically register eligible American citizens through tax refund files, through Post Office Change of Address forms, when an individual turns 18 years old, or when an immigrant becomes a citizen. The goal would be to register 100 percent of individuals, according to FairVote.

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Critics to mandatory registration say it is cause for concern over people’s privacy. While the chance to opt out of the registration process could be available if a person does not wish to participate in the political process, many argue making a person who wishes to remain unregistered violates their right to decide the extent to which they wish to participate, according to The Heritage Foundation.

Additionally, it would require them to refuse to become registered with every transaction they perform with the government. This could become tedious and wasteful, especially in cases with those of questionable citizenship, felons and other eligibility factors.

Voter registration lists are also public information, accessible to journalists, political canvassers, and all Americans. Registering every citizen could violate privacy as an individual’s personal information, such as their address, may be accessible.

Many universal voter registration policies come with permanent registration, which would make fraud worse, according to The Heritage Foundation, as ineligible voters, those who have moved, and citizens who have died would be more difficult to remove.

The foundation also argues the main reason for people not being registered is not due to problems with registry, but being uninterested or too busy to vote.

Citing the Census Bureau’s 2008 report, the foundation reported that only four percent of individuals reported not registering to vote because they did “not know where or how to register.”

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Beyond that, other ways to improve voter registration and stop fraud include requiring government-issued photo identification when a person registers and votes, though many argue this further limits a person’s right to vote.

Developing technology that cross-references several databases from different states to flag names that may be duplicates is also in the works to fight voter fraud, according to The Washington Post.

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While proponents of universal voting registration promote it to fight voter fraud, others oppose such a policy, saying it could infringe on citizens' right to privacy among other problems.
universal voting registration, case against
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2015-40-02
Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 10:40 PM
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