Thursday, October 09, 2008

Update on Voter Registration problem

I'm going to check with the Oregon Secretary of State's office today to get the official word on how would-be voters registering (or re-registering) with only their social security information are being treated. Are they being purged or allowed to go on the election rolls?

Stay tuned.

The links to my earlier posts on this issue are here and here. Today's New York Times story is here.

Meanwhile, our Red Electric Berlin correspondent, Lizi Zach, who has been registering Americans living in German, writes to report similar problems:

Just read the latest post on your blog - the same experience over here in registering voters, but greater in that we see Americans from all over the U.S. We use a thick book of instructions with voter registration forms from every state and the addresses of the voter registrars for every county in the U.S. What surprised me when I started this is, as you describe, the issue with the drivers licenses. Some forms imply that that is required to register, which is not true, obviously. You really do have to read the fine print. I was also stumped recently by a friend from Washington (Mike has lived in Berlin a little longer than I have) - he told me that on his form, it states that if he votes absentee in the general election, it disqualifies him from voting on local measures in Kirkland, where his parents and siblings live. He wants to vote on those measures because it affects his family and also he says he might return to live there some day. The form and restrictions were so confusing that he ended up calling his local registar office to get a straight answer. He was told his local voting rights wouldn't be affected, but had he not called, I would have ventured to guess, based on the form, that he would have been forfeiting his rights. I've become convinced these last few months of volunteering that the next big cause needs to be voter registration reform - to make the process more uniform. Even those of us who have been volunteering to register voters for weeks now are confused by the rules - how, then, can we expect Joe Sixpack (sorry, couldn't resist) to figure out what is allowed and what not.

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