Adam Fogel, director of FairVote's Right to Vote program, testified before the Washington, D.C. City Council's Committee on Government Operations and the Environment on Monday, June 13th in support of the Omnibus Election Reform Act of 2009. Fogel told the committee that this important bill lays the foundation for making the District's election laws among the most progressive in the country, giving the city the opportunity to serve as a shining example to rest of the nation.
"This bill will…lay the groundwork for a 21st Century voter registration system that anticipates participation as opposed to the current 19th Century system that places hurdles along the way to the ballot box," said Fogel. "Washington, D.C.'s voter registration and election system should show the rest of the country that this city is a beacon of democracy, one that serves as a model to others and demonstrates our commitment to securing full and equal voting rights."
Mr. Fogel leads FairVote's efforts on issues of voting rights and youth participation. Since joining the organization in 2007, he has run field experiments in civics education, wrote the 40-page voting curriculum Learning Democracy, co-authored a report on reforming the presidential nominating process and led a research team that surveyed hundreds of swing state election administrators. His writing has recently appeared in the Washington Post.
Fogel highlighted key provisions of this sweeping election reform bill that will encourage participation, simplify the work of election administrators, and increase transparency with such reforms as pre-registration for 16-year-olds, primary voting for 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election, and Election Day registration. He also emphasized the need for education in civics and the mechanics of political participation for D.C.'s young voters. "We can improve election laws by passing this bill," he said, "but the important work begins after this bill is passed-by registering and educating students in our schools and creating a new generation of informed, active participants in our democracy."