Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Tuesday, July 11
Voter Registration: The Issue of 2006?
Could voter registration be to 2006 what voting machines were to 2000 and provisional ballots were to 2004? I think it's possible, and USA Today has this story on the question.

There are really two big issues here. The first is implementation of the statewide registration databases that are required by the Help America Vote Act, which I discussed in this weekly comment several weeks ago. The biggest question here is what standards will be used in "matching" voters' identifying information (such as name, address, driver's license number) against that in other databases. If voters' names are wrongly deleted to to matching problems, then lots of people will show up at the polls to find that there names aren't there.

The other issue concerns attempts by some states -- including Florida and Ohio -- to impose new restrictions on nonpartisan groups engaged in voter registration. The ostensible justification for these rules is that phony registration forms have been submitted. On the other hand, groups like ACORN and the League of Women Voters are concerned that the stiff penalities and rigid rules governing them in some states will drastically curtail their ability to register voters. Lawsuits are pending in Florida, Ohio, and Arizona, and I doubt that these will be the last states in which such battles emerge this year.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University