Monday, September 27, 2004

Bureaucracy or Electioneering? You Be the Judge 

MyDD is reporting an obnoxious story about efforts to keep US citizens from voting. After news that Democrats have been out-registering Republicans in the race to find new Ohio voters, the GOP Ohio Secretary of State has ordered his minions to rigorously enforce an obscure rule requiring all voter registration cards to be on heavy cardstock in order to be processed.

While one would hope that the various GOTV organizations would have noted such nasty little bureaucratic requirements before sending out materials (and hopefully they have), it's hard to imagine what public interest is served by this kind of regulation. I'd be a bit of a hypocrite if I ranted too heavily about this kind of tactic after commending Democrats for using similar persnickety enforcement of the rules to keep Nader off ballots, but at least there are generally fairly good arguments for restricting ballot access floating around out there. I'm unaware of (and unlikely to be persuaded by) arguments against easy voter registration. I challenge Bonassus readers to come up with arguments linking heaviness-of-registration-cardstock and voter fraud.

In any case, isn't this the sort of heavy-handed state regulation that we regularly hear decried by the right? I guess it's just those damn big government Republicans again!

UPDATE: Atrios is making a claim that the Ohio regulation is actually in violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act. I am completely ignorant both of the law and of the likely implications if in fact the law is being violated, so look elsewhere for your info, or tell me what I don't know, you lawyer-types.

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