Hayward on Nationalized Voter Registration

A panel of university law professors convened by the American Constitution Society of Law and Policy was critical of current voter registration methods in the U.S. and discussed use of an approach more like that of other nations whose governments perform that function.

Mason Law Professor Allison Hayward, a participant, pointed out that "There's nothing in the Constitution that requires states to implement voter registration systems. If a state decided that registration is a pain (and eliminates it), nobody has the ability at the federal level to say that's an inappropriate policy decision."

The panelists told reporters that this year's election had been relatively problem free; however, there was concern among the participants for some of the serious problems arising from voter registration methods.

Liberal Lawyer's Group Wants Same-Day, Nationalized Voter Registration,, November 7, 2008. By Matthew Cover.

"Takaji suggested a system similar to one used in Canada, where the national government is completely responsible for registering citizens to vote.

"'We could imagine a different model - one more like what Canada has - where the (federal) government takes affirmative responsibility for registering every eligible voter, and they have 93 percent of eligible citizens registered, as opposed to 68 percent here.'

"As long as we have (a system) that relies so heavily on private registration efforts, some of the problems we've seen in recent weeks and months are inevitable," he added.

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