Giving citizens the flexibility to register to vote (or update their existing registration if they’ve recently moved) on Election Day actually chips away at Americans’ “individual freedoms,” according to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R).
During a panel discussion on voting at the conservative Heritage Foundation on Thursday, Kemp lambasted the idea of same-day voter registration. Ten ideologically diverse states, from Idaho to Wisconsin to California, have enacted the program, also known as Election Day registration. By removing barriers to voting and making it easier for citizens to register, studies have found that EDR boosts turnout on average by 7 to 14 percentage points.
Kemp dismissed EDR as a “buzzword” that is as an affront to Americans’ right not to participate in elections. “[It] really gets down to the individual freedoms of people in our state and Americans in general and their ability to decide for themselves, ‘yes I want to register to vote and participate in the process, or no that I don’t,” Kemp said.
KEMP: I think we do have to have commonsense protections to make sure that our rolls are secure to stop potential voter fraud. This whole issue with dealing with the federal government and universal registration and same-day registration and all these different buzzwords really gets down to the individual freedoms of people in our state and Americans in general and their ability to decide for themselves, “yes I want to register to vote and participate in the process, or no that I don’t.”
There are countless problems with our voting system, but infringing on Americans’ right to not vote is not one.
Regardless, Kemp’s assertion that EDR somehow compels citizens to vote is ludicrous. The law simply allows those citizens who want to to register on Election Day.
In fact, Georgia, as much as any state, could benefit from EDR. In 2012, the Peach State ranked 33rd out of 50 states with a voter turnout of 58 percent. Meanwhile, five of the top six voter turnout states have EDR.