Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
After spending the past two weeks in the national spotlight of shame for a poorly managed election, Secretary of State Ken "Birther" Bennett says that things went well, and only minor tweaks are needed. His only specific proposal so far is moving to "voting centers" instead of precinct voting, something I support as part of a package of larger reforms, but standing alone is not a solution to the problem. State officials seek vote reform:
Late Tuesday, Maricopa County elections officials announced they had nearly completed the count from the 2012 election, with only write-in ballots left to tally. Maricopa, the largest county, was the last to finish its count.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Ken Bennett said he will meet with Arizona's 15 county elections officials to work on improvements to the state's election system, from registration to ballot counting.
And House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said he will introduce legislation to create a bipartisan commission to examine the 2012 election, as well as the 2010 and 2008 elections.
"Arizonans deserve real answers about what happened during this election," Campbell said in a written statement. "We need to know what caused the irregularities."
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In a news conference, Bennett emphasized he is not proposing to scrap the state's existing system. In fact, he said, the system is working well, noting that it took 15 days to count the returns from the 2008 presidential election and that was in a year with fewer provisional ballots and fewer early ballots that came in late.
To cut down on a delay in final returns, Bennett said, counties might want to establish voting centers, which were authorized in a 2011 law that he proposed.
Voting Centers? Really Ken, that's your plan?
The real problem lies with our our antiquated and assbackwards voter registration system. As Jonathan Bernstein writes at the Plum Line, Here’s a thought. Why don’t we make voting easy?:
Same-day voter registration is, in fact, a bad policy — because registration should be automatic. But in the current situation it’s the least-bad of bad policies. That’s because everything about voter registration in this country is awful. We should have universal, automatic voter registration. Period. End of story. Just as most democracies do.
Having an extra burden on voters to get themselves registered (and, given how often Americans move, re-registered and re-registered again) is a bad idea. Granted, automatic voter registration for all would take federal government action, and there’s not much chance the the Republican House of Representatives will agree to anything like that any time soon. Still, it would be good to see some real movement on this in Congress, even if passage is unlikely this time around.
That’s not the only reform Congress could adopt. Senator Chris Coons has drafted promising reform legislation. Among his ideas: Giving federal grants to states that develop plans to make it easy to vote through streamlined registration, early voting, better training of election officials and other fixes. Separately, as Greg noted here recently, the Brennan Center for Justice has suggested a long set of reforms that would especially help alleviate election day problems.
Look: either you believe in democracy, or you don’t. If you do, you should be trying to make it easier for people to vote. Full stop. American elections administration right now is an embarrassment, but it’s actually a fairly easy problem to fix.
The problem is, the Republican Party has been invested in suppressing the vote for years, not making it easier for people to vote.