More Unfortunate News for the Voter Participation Center

Dona Ana County, NM, is the source of the latest.  There have been no claims of fraud (and from what I can see, no basis for such claims), but there are substantial questions about the accuracy of the lists the organization is using to send voter registration forms to the public.  The Voter Participation Center used to be Women’s Voices, Women Vote, which ran into similar accuracy and execution questions four years ago.

I enthusiastically support efforts to help the enormous percentage of eligible but unregistered citizens get registered, and to help those who are registered stay registered when they move.  It would be great to update our 19th-century registration system to something a little more modern, with fewer opportunities for error and confusion all around.  In the meantime, we’re stuck with a suboptimal process that systemically depends on the efforts of civic-minded individuals, alone and in concert, helping to make sure that democracy works.

That said, too much unchanneled enthusiasm may create problems of its own.  Registration forms sent in by voters who are already registered create hassles for election officials, and substantially overbroad efforts, however well-intentioned, will stoke (unwarranted) calls for clamping down on voter registration across the board.  This is a script we’ve seen before.

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