Rights, Responsibility and Roadblocks: Why is it so Hard to Vote in America?

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Read more about voting rights in the last issue of the Carnegie Reporter

Cover for 

The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention

Voting isn’t just a right, it’s a responsibility. However, over the past decade, various states have enacted new laws creating barriers that make casting a ballot far too difficult.  These restrictions affect voter participation, perception, and turnout, and ultimately, work to undermine everything we stand for as a country.

Carnegie Corporation of New York grantee, The Brennan Center for Justice, has put forth multiple proposals aimed at addressing this situation, including the suggestion of a more modernized voter registration system.  Through the elimination of bureaucracy, and the implementation of automatic registration, portability, and the ability to register online, the Brennan Center’s proposals would simplify the process, and make it easier for people to vote. In the wake of new voter identification laws, this campaign has never been more relevant. Recent years have seen a culmination of incidents and issues that make voting far more difficult than it should be. In a recent partnership with Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, the Brennan Center polled over 1,000 Americans on their perceptions about the voting and registration processes. The results of these polls were then combined with existing statistics to create, Why is it so Hard to Vote in America? a fun, online presentation aimed at galvanizing the public around this issue.

As the upcoming presidential election looms in the not-so-distant future, time is of the essence. From the initial registration process to casting an actual ballot, their recommendations provide a comprehensive blueprint, outlining the various ways we can amend the process and live up to our national ideals.