Today is National Voter Registration Day. As the name implies, this holiday is all about encouraging voter registration - a process where it pays to live in a state with a Democratic legislature or, failing that, where you'd better have over 570,000 Twitter followers if you expect to get a ballot. The recent cases of two potential voters help illustrate that point.
Take the first case. Jim Cramer, author and host of CNBC’s Mad Money, took to his Twitter account recently with a very non-financial issue: “I have a problem. My dad, a vet, won't be allowed to vote in Pa. because he does not drive, he is elderly, and can't prove his citizenship.”
Using under 140 characters, Mr. Cramer cast a national spotlight on legislation passed by Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature that established one of the most onerous voter intimidation laws in the country, which the Republican Pennsylvania Majority Leader promised would deliver the state to Mitt Romney this Fall.
However, nearly 750,000 legally registered Pennsylvania voters are now scrambling to find their necessary paperwork and negotiate with governmental agencies so they can vote. These new requirements are burdensome and frustrating, since people who do not have driver’s licenses are more likely to be elderly and poor.
Mr. Cramer’s tweet generated a lot of attention, and within 24 hours, Pennsylvania officials contacted Mr. Cramer’s father directly to help him out. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters do not have a father with the connections, celebrity status, or twitter followers that Jim Cramer enjoys.
Contrast the elder Mr. Cramer’s experience with that of voters in California. Because of Democrats in the legislature and Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, all Californians can now register to vote online. And this week Governor Brown signed legislation allowing same-day voter registration, maximizing the number of people from both parties who will be able to share their voices in upcoming elections.
As Governor Brown said, “Voting—the sacred right of every citizen—should be simple and convenient. While other states try to restrict voters with new laws that burden the process, California allows voters to register online—and even on Election Day.”
Fortunately, we do not have the case of a voter in California having to rely on his or her celebrity connections just so they can exercise their fundamental right to participate in democracy.
Democrats are fighting to ensure that no person should be denied their fundamental right to have their voice heard; Republicans—on the other hand—are doing everything in their power to quiet voices of discontent all over the country.
Reposted from DLCC.org.