Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Frank Barry

Want More Voters? Abolish Registration

Oregon just became the first state to automatically register people to vote. That's good news, and not just for voter turnout.
This is not the best way to register voters.

This is not the best way to register voters.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The civil rights marchers who were attacked in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 were attempting to register to vote. The question that people should be asking all these years later is: Why should anyone have to register at all?

On Monday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a bill that eliminates the need for most citizens to submit registration forms in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote. That legislation, the first in the country, arises from a simple idea: Government should not force people to file more forms than necessary. (If you disagree, you may have a future career with the Internal Revenue Service.)