Reducing state-level voting discrimination is a Trojan Horse for creeping expansion federal power, according to Washington Post Columnist George Will.
Will’s spider sense started tingling after reading remarks by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who suggested the government automatically register all adults by computer rather than require prospective voters to jump through a series of onerous state-imposed hoops. The conservative columnist took this proposal as the first “step toward making voting mandatory,” even though the administration has not endorsed compulsory voting schemes. Will’s main point, however, is that registering more people to vote will give the wrong crowd access to the ballot box:
Because the likelihood of any individual’s vote mattering is infinitesimal and because the effort required to be an informed voter can be substantial, ignorance and abstention are rational, unless voting is cathartic or otherwise satisfying. A small voting requirement such as registration, which calls for the individual voter’s initiative, acts to filter potential voters with the weakest motivations. They are apt to invest minimal effort in civic competence. As indifferent or reluctant voters are nagged to the polls — or someday prodded there by a monetary penalty for nonvoting — the caliber of the electorate must decline.
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