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Jason Salzman

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Voter Registration Need Not Be Excluded From the 21st Century

Posted: 04/25/2013 10:46 pm

You may recall that the Denver Post came out with a shallow editorial last week in favor of most of an election-modernization bill that's winding its way toward the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper.

But, strangely, the newspaper argued that officials should consider waiting "years" before implementing election-day voter registration because it's so dreadfully complicated for the 21st century human mind to assemble and operate the necessary technology.

But the Post's editorial failed to mention that Colorado's country clerks are already, in effect, registering people on Election Day with existing technology, which can be used in the 2012 and 2013 elections. And the clerks' experts say this technology can be upgraded for elections beginning in 2014.

You hate to see a newspaper siding with exclusion, when it comes to elections, based on flimsy evidence, because journalism is supposed to stand for giving everyone a voice. The newspaper should have gone the extra mile to do its homework on the election bill.

So it was a relief to see that the Post gave a Republican, Donetta Davidson (who's the Director of the CO County Clerks Association), and a Democrat, Joan Fitz-Gerald (former State Senate President), space to argue for the bill in its entirety. They wrote:

If you're reading this, you likely voted by mail last November, and you're in good company: Seventy-two percent of Colorado voters joined you. Mail ballots are a convenient, secure and private way to cast a ballot that is increasingly popular among Colorado voters.

HB 1303 answers the demand of these voters while providing ample options for voters who prefer to vote in person. It eliminates the "inactive-failed-to-vote" status that created confusion for voters. It creates a graduated registration system that scales down the demand on the system as Election Day approaches...

As former county clerks, we both understand the pragmatic, non-political approach to maintaining the public trust in elections. Technology has caught up with the needs of voters and taxpayers. The Voter Access & Modernized Elections Act will mean more people can take advantage of their right to vote, our local governments will save money and we all win.


This publication of this piece again shows the newspaper's commitment to engaging in a full discussion of issues on its commentary page.

 

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