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Old 04-24-2016, 08:43 AM
Schnitte Schnitte is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 3,447
Can you explain all the fuzz about voter registration in the US to a European?

Some European countries operate a system of a permanent mandatory register of all citizens, which is also used for administering elections. I understand America does not have such a system in place, meaning there's a need for a dedicated voter registration process.

My understanding of voter registration is - but maybe I'm wrong about what it actually entails - is as follows. People who wish to vote are required, with details governed by state law, to submit a registration form, together with documentation that proves their eligibility to vote (such as a birth certificate). You mail that to some agency by some defined deadline ahead of the election, and that's it.

If that is what voter registration means, then I don't understand the controvery this creates. Surely they can't just let anybody vote who shows up at a polling station on election day, so some pre-screening of that sort is necessary and reasonable. I don't see how such a process would be biased in favour of certain parties or candidates, since I would imagine everybody, rich or poor, to have documentation of that sort. Sure, it reduces spontaneous voting by people who made up their mind that they want to vote only after the registration deadline. But that's about it, and I don't see how this would hit a a particular party's or candidate's supporters disporportinatley more strongly than others. So where does this controversy come from?
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