The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The ballot to implement better voter registration procedures

Voting+stands+as+an+important+feature+of+the+United+States%E2%80%99+representative+democracy.+To+vote%2C+eligible+voters+must+register+before+casting+their+ballot.+States+that+implement+strict+voter+registration+procedures+have+seen+lower+rates+of+voter+turnout+in+comparison+to+those+states+that+employ+convenient+ways+of+registering+to+vote%2C+such+as+automatic+voter+registration.+States+should+employ+new%2C+convenient+ways+of+registering+to+vote+to+increase+voter+turnout+and+ensure+that+everyone+holds+the+same+chance+to+act+on+their+democratic+duty.
Rose Ordonio
Voting stands as an important feature of the United States’ representative democracy. To vote, eligible voters must register before casting their ballot. States that implement strict voter registration procedures have seen lower rates of voter turnout in comparison to those states that employ convenient ways of registering to vote, such as automatic voter registration. States should employ new, convenient ways of registering to vote to increase voter turnout and ensure that everyone holds the same chance to act on their democratic duty.

As the critical 2024 presidential election looms, people can increase their political efficacy through voting. Before one can put their ballot in the box, aspiring voters advance the polls but find out they cannot vote since they failed to register to vote before election day. These unsuccessful voting attempts contribute to the lack of voter turnout. When comparing voter turnout in the United States to other democracies, the country falls behind. The United States’ voter turnout in the 2020 election fell below the voter turnout average of countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of states with democratic governments. To combat low voter turnout, especially in important elections, voter registration must change. Every state should implement convenient ways for registering people to vote, such as automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration, to increase turnout and widen the opportunities for people to cast their ballots. 

“My general feeling is anything we can do to make it easier for people to participate, particularly people who don’t usually participate, is a good thing. So I would like to see same-day voter registration, which some states do because that would facilitate people who may not normally participate and don’t register to go ahead and sign up to vote,” AP US Government and Politics teacher Scott Trepanier said.

 Critics of changing voter registration argue that procedures such as voter registration deadlines and voter identification requirements ensure election security and newer ways, such as same-day voting, would lead to an increase in voter fraud. Same-day voter registration and online voter registration both require voters to show identification. The argument that choosing accessible ways of voter registration would not uphold the same security measures to undermine election security ignores the fact that all voter registration systems require voters to show a government-issued ID, ensuring the eligibility of a person to cast their ballot. Additionally, automatic voter registration (AVR)  allows government agencies to automatically register qualifying citizens to vote. This method also verifies voter identification because interacting with government agencies requires a government-issued ID and government agencies to gather information about the eligible voter.

Evidence shows that states that put new, convenient ways of voter registration into practice see increased voter turnout in comparison to states with strict voter registration deadlines. Maine, a state that implements same-day voter registration, held a higher percentage of 2020 election voter turnout than Hawaii, which requires their residents to register 30 days before Election Day, with Maine’s turnout at 74.8% and Hawaii at 51.5%. Employing online voter registration and AVR have showcased similar effects in voter turnout in the 2020 election. Arkansas, a state without online registration, yielded a 52.3% voter turnout, while Wisconsin, a state with online registration, showcased a 71.9%. Oklahoma, which offers AVR as a registration option, experienced a voter turnout of 51.5%, but Colorado, a state that adopted AVR, saw 70.9% of eligible voters come to the polls. These results yield the favor of swapping out the old procedures of voter registration and implementing modern convenient methods of registering to vote.

The 15th Amendment, which states “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged”, highlights the fundamental privilege to vote. No procedure should prevent citizens from showing up to the polls and casting their ballots, an action vital to a representative democracy. States uniformly administering voter registration procedures that allow for an easier way to vote and in turn increase voter turnout would ensure citizens’ voices remain heard.  

“New methods of voter registration should overall increase participation in elections. Same-day registration and online registration would have to [increase voter turnout] because 40 percent or so people that are not even registered if they had an easier way to register just by showing up at a polling location then they could actually vote and be like ‘Hey I’m apart of the [election] process,’” Trepanier said.

 
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About the Contributor
Rose Ordonio, Page Editor
Rose Ordonio, a senior at NC, is a returning member of The Chant. She hopes to continue writing about developing topics around the world, showcase her opinions and get involved in the Kennesaw community. She enjoys plants and is involved in NC's environmental clubs. Outside of school, she loves watching her favorite dramas, going out with her friends, and watching games from her hometown baseball team: the Atlanta Braves. Ordonio plans to study public relations in college and pursue journalism.    

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