Over 20 million eligible voters did not vote in the 2012 presidential election. These “missing votes” - most of whom are attributed to American youth - were not due to a busy schedule or lack of information, but rather to not being registered to vote. A new political group may have found an answer to this problem, but it doesn’t come without some resistance.
Created by former aides to President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, the democratic group iVote has introduced a new law that aims to make voter registration automatic when an American citizen obtains a driver’s license.
Currently, the voting law follows the National Voter Registration Act, a 1993 ruling that allows potential voters the option to register when applying for driver’s licenses or state ID cards. However, if iVote’s law became successful, those applying for driver’s licenses will now not have the option to opt out of the automatic voter registration.
According to iVote’s leader Jeremy Bird, this new ruling could bring out millions of voters who have failed to reach polls before.
“I do think it can be a complete game-changer.” Birds said to The New York Times.
However, some politicians like Kansas secretary of state Kris W. Koback (R) feel like this doesn't target the real reason why people aren't voting.
“I just think it’s a bad idea.” Koback said, “It’s not going to increase participation rates.” Koback advocates for tightening voting laws and opposes iVote’s initiative because he feels like it doesn't tackle the actual problem - that those who haven’t voted are not interested in voting.
Bird has challenged Koback’s views by citing a study by Political Analysis which looked at the number of people who searched Google for voter registration information past state deadlines. The study states that up to four million people who were unregistered appeared to want to vote.
Although the 2016 Presidential election is only a year away, the way America votes may already be changing and it'll be interesting to see if political participation does increase as a result of this measure. For more political news about the 2016 presidential race, check out WomensForum.com’s Her Vote page.