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Major Papers Support FairVote-Backed Registration Reforms

by Paul Fidalgo // Published July 27, 2009

The editorial pages of two of the nation's biggest papers expressed their support for FairVote-backed reforms that improve voter registration processes and encourage youth participation.

This morning, the Washington Post gives the nod to the District of Columbia's Omnibus Election Reform Act of 2009, which allows for 16-year-old preregistration, allows 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election to vote in primaries, and offers particularly strong support for Election Day registration. It also calls for a study of the feasibility of universal voter registration, which the Post calls "encouraging" an an idea that "seems to be gaining traction."

FairVote's Adam Fogel recently testified before the DC City Council in support of the bill, and you can read his testimony here [PDF].

Last week, the New York Times' editorial page touted federal legislation in the works in the U.S. Senate that would bring us closer to the goal voter registration modernization. Writes the Times:

In the American system, state and local officials, who have the primary responsibility in this area, have overwhelmingly failed to put in place the sort of system needed to bring eligible voters into the electorate. In many states, legislators and election officials have actually adopted policies designed to interfere with registration drives or erected other barriers. . . . To be effective, [legislation] should follow the lead of nations that are far more serious than the United States about getting eligible voters on the rolls - and have the registration rates to prove it.
Much of this coverage is spurred by the work of the Brennan Center for Justice's report on registration practices around the world and by the efforts of FairVote and other groups at the national and state levels to ensure fair access to participation, particularly for young voters and voters-to-be.