Speaking at Texas Southern University in Houston on Thursday, Hillary Clinton announced her support for universal voter registration while laying out her vision for voting rights in the United States.
While the announcement comes as Clinton seeks to mobilize traditional Democratic voters as she gathers momentum toward a presidential primary campaign, it is important to understand universal registration as a reform that is bi-partisan at its very core. Automatically registering voters would go a long way in achieving free, fair, and accessible elections for all. Our democracy is at its best when more eligible voters participate, and universal voter registration has the potential to level the playing field for low-income voters, young voters, and voters of color, who are disproportionately disenfranchised at the polls. In addition, such legislation would help ensure that states are keeping clean and accurate voter roles so as to protect the integrity of elections, which is often a high priority for conservatives.
FairVote is proud to be a long-time supporter of universal voter registration, and was the first national voting organization to originally support the reform. The United States is one of only a few democracies in the world where the government does not take responsibility for registering voters. It is time that America joined the international community in establishing universal voter registration. Today's announcement is a big step in that direction.