The Illinois House recently passed a bill which, if it becomes law, would automatically register people to vote when they interact with any of several state agencies. This scheme, also known as “motor voter” in several of its other variants because it registers licensed drivers to vote, now exists in some form in eight states and the District of Columbia. Illinois previously passed a similar bill which was vetoed by its governor due to concerns over voter fraud. The Illinois House passed this new bill unanimously, and if adopted by the Senate, the Governor is expected to sign it.
On the surface, it might seem that this is a good thing. After all, the United States is a democracy, right? Advocates for “motor voter” would certainly have you believe so. And if you accept their premise, motor voter makes life considerably easier for people to vote. According to the Brennan Center, it has increased the number of registered voters by millions in the several states that have implemented it. It has also significantly cut the costs of maintaining voter rolls. It is very convenient for all involved, as it usually ports with the voter every time he changes his address on file with the state. But is all this a positive thing?
First, the automatic registration of voters denies those who would prefer not to register the right to choose. Advocates for automatic registration point to the fact that most automatic registration schemes allow citizens to opt out, but this is not the same thing as the right to not register because it imposes on citizens the burden of action. In a free society, the individual has the right be left alone.
The second – and larger issue is that by choosing to automatically register anyone in a particular state database without any additional vetting, states could very easily register non-citizens. Every state in the nation issues driver’s licenses to foreign nationals who are present legally, and several states also issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Citizenship verification requirements vary among states who perform automatic registration, but many do no vetting whatsoever and rely solely on the signed statement of the potential voter that he is eligible to vote. California, for example, has granted eight hundred thousand illegal immigrants driver’s licenses. That is in addition to millions of legal non-citizen immigrants. That state relies solely on a signed statement to verify voter eligibility. In fact, California goes a step farther and treats a failure to answer regarding eligibility as an affirmation of the right to vote. The potential for voter fraud is enormous.
Even if you ignore the liberty and fraud arguments, there is also no guarantee that universal voter registration translates to more voters showing up on Election Day. People who were not motivated enough to bother registering may not be motivated enough to bother showing up and casting a ballot. Without further societal involvement, automatic registration schemes are nothing more than feel-good measures with little or no effect.
In support of this common sense notion, the Heritage Foundation published US Census figures citing that only about three to six percent of non-voters reported not voting because of registration problems. The most common answer to why these people didn’t vote was that they just weren’t interested. Other common responses included being too busy, that they forgot to vote, or they simply didn’t like their options.
The truth is that there are excellent reasons for individuals to choose not to vote. Even though voting is relatively easy, and registering to vote is usually even easier, the time necessary to do these things is an investment, and it is entirely rational for people to perceive that the chance that their vote will swing things in their favor just isn’t worth the bother. In fact, many individuals who choose to make the investment in voting educate themselves irrationally about the issues and candidates. Put another way, for most voters, the cost of educating themselves on the best option is higher than the potential benefit they can derive from the best possible outcome, multiplied by the chance that their vote will swing the result.
Because the investment in becoming informed on the best option is very high, the vast majority of people look for shortcuts. Instead of looking into each issue or candidate themselves, most choose a source who will brief them on candidates and choices, and they rely on the guidance of those experts when making their decisions. This phenomenon happens on both sides of the political spectrum, but it happens most often on the left. It is convenient for leftists and globalists because they have expended – and continue to expend – vast resources to take control of the establishment media, which is the source which those with the least motivation to research issues themselves rely on most frequently.
Now you understand why the globalist left and the RINO right absolutely love automatic voter registration. If you want power without accountability, you want the laziest, most uninformed electorate possible. All you have to do is remove any barriers to voting and pound them with propaganda. Then they will take the path of least resistance, and vote for the options that the talking heads they’ve paid for declare to be the best. And if a few million illegal voters slip through the cracks as well, so much the better.
More democracy is not always better. A motivated and educated electorate always is.