(Voting in America)
From the Left…Dick Gale, Head of the Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto
Voting is one of the most precious rights American have as citizens. It is the process by which we choose our leaders and thus the quality of life we possess. And it is the way we can get rid of politicians who abuse their position and pursue policies that negatively affect our citizens like tax rates and environmental regulations. It has been estimated the about 57% of registered voters actually voted in the 2016 election. And there are millions who have not even bothered to register. It is probably generous to say that our leaders are chosen by less than one third of eligible voters. This low turnout is embarrassing and needs to be improved significantly.
Our local, state and national leadership needs to represent everyone, not just the few. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as the Motor Voter Act, is a United States federal law signed into law by President Bill Clinton on May 20, 1993, and which came into effect on January 1, 1995. It is worth noting that this law was passed by a congress in which both House and Senate were controlled by Democrats. Of the two major parties, it is the Democrats that have pushed to increase voter turnout. Republicans feel that low turnout works to their benefit and election results show that. The higher the turnout the more likely Democrats are to win. So for their own selfish interests, Republicans keep trying to diminish voter turnout. Several Republican controlled states have made it harder to register by reducing the number of locations to register, reducing the hours when one can register, and limiting the kind of ID that is accepted. Many Democratically controlled states have tried to make it easier to register and vote. California is moving toward a 100% mail-in-ballot process, eliminating the need for anyone having to miss work to vote. Oregon has taken this approach and has resulted in the highest percentage of turnout nationwide. While the “Motor Voter” law was national, because registration is a state function, each state had to do the work of implementing the process. In California the result has not been without flaws, one of which is the party affiliation of the voter.
(Voting in America)
In the political section of last week’s Chronicle there was an article from the other political party which mentioned problems with the California Motor Voter implementation and tried to use the siren song of voter fraud to attack the motor voter law. The statistics on voter fraud nationwide shows that the number of fraudulent voting is extremely small, not exceeding the low hundreds nationwide and not one single election result nationwide has been affected, not one. Claims are made that there are dead people who are registered. That claim is correct but only because tax money is not expended to track death notices and remove names from the register. My 97 year of neighbor died this past spring and I’m sure his name is still on the register. There are also people who have moved, registered to vote in their new location but have not bothered to remove their name from their past address so they are registered in two places but of course they only vote in one.
Having said this, the motor voter process needs to be fixed. It needs to be better and progress is being made. California was the 2nd state to implement the motor voter law. It works. The number of voter registrations has been increased as a result of this law. What you need to know is that if you registered for your driver’s license recently and wish to be identified with a political party rather than “declined to state” then you have only a couple of weeks to fix that before the upcoming primary election on March 3rd. Also of note, the Democratic candidate for State Assembly California Assembly District 42, the district which includes Hemet and San Jacinto, DeniAntionette Mazingo also had an article in last week’s Chronicle pointing out the this law needs fixed. And if you are not registered please do so quickly. This year your vote is more important than ever.
Dick GalePresident of the Democrats of Hemet – San Jacinto
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