Mickey Mouse wants to vote. So does Jive Turkey.
Or maybe not.
To avoid fraudulent voter registration cards with aliases such as these, the General Assembly passed a law in January that supporters said would prevent the chance for these tricks to be pulled and prevent the headaches they cause.
All sounds dandy, right? Since 2000, the media has been pounding out stories about voting problems. Most recently, we heard about the poor employees at boards of elections across the country trying to figure out who is real and who has used an annoying moniker from a Disney classic.
The law set up rules that said the cards should be turned in only by the people who collected them. Formerly, these people would turn the filled out cards in to their supervisors, who delivered them to the board of elections.
Once you get to the logistics of the law, however, we, the editorial board, see what U.S. District Judge Kathleen O’Malley saw.
O’Malley reversed the law last Friday saying the mechanics prevented all who wanted to register to vote from doing so. Her decision was applauded by voter advocacy groups and this editorial board.
The reversal has re-opened the doors to the Constitutional right of voting the General Assembly had slammed on so many.
The laws would have made registering to vote more cumbersome for poorer communities that do not have the transportation or access to the registrars. It would also exclude those who do not have a computer or the skills necessary to vote online.
We feared the already voter-apathetic state would become even more lazy.
In a society where if we aren’t instantly gratified, we won’t do it, the work of political organizations and voter advocacy groups is imperative to the maintenance of democracy.
They make it easier for those who may not have had the time or energy to register on the Internet. They’re also easier to spot and, best of all, they’ll often seek you out.
The January law would have discouraged many volunteers and voter registration drives. The state needs to help, not hinder the work of registering voters. The state needs to make sure the provisions for voting are readily accessible.
We understand the politics of the January law. We understand the annoyance of fake registration cards and similar obstacles. But why not create better education about registering to vote instead of creating even more roadblocks?
There’s only so much P. Diddy can do, and we think if we see another “Vote or Die” T-shirt, we just may die. So, to help a mogul out, here is a list of tips for making sure you get registered:
• Sign ups are at all Portage County libraries
• Keep your eyes peeled for tables to register at Kent’s State’s Black Squirrel Festival and around campus.
• Visit http://www.co.portage.oh.us/election/index.html to fill out an absentee ballot if you won’t be in Portage County on election day.
Cheers to O’Malley and all those who take their social responsibility seriously of providing the right to vote to all.
Jeers to all the Mickey Mouse’s and Jive Turkey’s — stay out of it this time.
The above is the general consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.