That was the bulletin from the Ithaca Times, a alone account cardboard in Upstate New York, which afterwards any alarum acclimated its advanced folio to book a aborigine allotment form. Readers could abounding out the form, breach it out and mail it in to annals to vote.
Marshall Hopkins, the assembly administrator and artist for the Times, told us that the ambition was to “make a bull and arresting account about borough responsibility,” abnormally for acceptance who were accession in Ithaca to appear one of the area’s three institutions of college education. “This affairs added than accepting our newspaper’s logo on the front” for that issue, he said.
The Times advanced folio serves as a abundant archetype of a absolute way to accomplish the voting activity easier and hassle-free. In this day of connected account about aborigine aishment – aborigine purges, the closing of precincts and the like – we charge all bifold bottomward in our efforts to advance absolute voting rights enhancements. Every bi-weekly in the country should chase the Times’ lead.
Attempts to accomplish aborigine allotment as accessible as accessible are bare now added than ever. In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted a above allocation of the Voting Rights Act that ahead had prevented assertive states from arty acrid laws such as aborigine purges. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that amid 2014 and 2016 states purged about 16 actor voters from the rolls, a beauteous access from antecedent years. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court additionally accustomed Ohio’s advancing voter-purge affairs that allows the accompaniment to aish accession from the rolls if he or she doesn’t vote in a few elections in a row.
Some states accept fabricated aborigine allotment easier, decidedly through automated aborigine registration. Under that process, the accompaniment has the albatross to annals voters application advice it already has, such as from DMV offices. The ameliorate has added aborigine accord dramatically. Oregon saw about 100,000 new voters in 2016 afterwards implementing the reform.
But automated allotment exists in alone 13 states and the District of Columbia. A few added states acquiesce for same-day registration, area voters can annals at the acclamation on Acclamation Day. In all added states, however, voters charge booty an acknowledging footfall to register, generally 30 canicule afore the election. No admiration millions of voters abide clumsy to vote appear Acclamation Day.
Of course, the activity of a bounded bi-weekly in Upstate New York is no argent ammo for our aborigine allotment woes. But there is abounding acumen to accept article beyond could appear from it. Afterwards all, abounding autonomous innovations alpha at the bounded level. Autonomous advance generally begins small, but already it catches fire, it’s adamantine to stop.
Newspapers beyond the country should chase the Times and book a aborigine allotment anatomy on their advanced pages. And what bigger day for the media to advance autonomous accord than on Sept. 25, National Aborigine Allotment Day?
In accession to press their accompaniment aborigine allotment forms on their covers, newspapers should actualize a folio for their websites so that users in states that acquiesce online aborigine allotment are directed to their accompaniment online aborigine allotment form. Elsewhere, media sites can absolute bodies to vote.gov, area voters can apprentice about the activity for their state.
Promoting autonomous accord is detached and noncontroversial. It fits able-bodied aural the media’s mission to accumulate the accessible informed, whether about elections themselves or how to annals to vote. In a time back aborigine admittance is generally undermined, the media should, in its role as the Fourth Estate, appear out acerb on the ancillary of aborigine assurance and autonomous participation.
Joshua A. Douglas is a law assistant at the University of Kentucky College of Law.
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