The Pew Center for the States did a study on how to modernize election systems across the United States. The thing that jumps out from the first pages of this study is what might best be called the high price of ignorance. Here’s what’s written in the Pew Center for the States’ report:
To complicate matters, many voters do not understand how the registration process works. The CCES report States indicates that more than one in four respondents either do not know how to change their registration information or think that the postal service or election office automatically updates it for them when they move. Furthermore, almost half of all voters are unaware that they can register or update their registration at motor vehicles offices.
This might be called the high price of ignorance. It might be proof that these potential voters weren’t paying attention in Social Studies class in high school. It’s possible that Social Studies didn’t teach these basics, choosing instead to talk about peripheral subjects rather than teaching soon-to-be-voting-age students the basics of things like registering and voting.
What’s certain is that this isn’t a systemic problem. Registering to vote has been done the same way for decades. It’s more likely that this is a societal problem, a symptom of people not being aware of the basics. It isn’t like someone suddenly switched the system. It isn’t like the system is complicated.
When Pew says “more than one in four respondents either do not know how to change their registration information”, that tells me that one in four respondents aren’t taking responsibility for knowing how to vote. When the study says that people “think that the postal service or election office automatically updates it for them when they move”, that tells me that there are apathetic people out there that didn’t bother learning how to vote.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the nation’s biggest problem. This article is startling:
A new report says about 24 million voter registrations in the United States contain significant errors, showing the system is in shambles.
The study released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States found that about 1.8 million dead people are still on the rolls and 2.5 million can vote in more than one state.
What this tells me is that secretaries of state aren’t doing their jobs. HAVA requires them to update their states’ SVRS system in a timely fashion. As in ASAP.
Photo ID doesn’t solve all of the election integrity issues, though it’s an important first step. Putting public pressure on secretaries of state to update that state’s SVRS is important, too. Putting election judge training into law would be a positive step, too. Flagging the names of the 2,500,000 people who are registered to vote in multiple states is essential, too.
People don’t have faith that this nation’s election system functions properly. It’s imperative that the nation’s election systems work properly.