Under a new California law, people who get a driver’s license or state identification card will be automatically registered to vote. From what I’m seeing, Democrats are generally applauding it while Republicans are suspicious of it. The practical effects are bound to be similar to voter ID requirements. People who are eligible for IDs will be waved past a hurdle toward voting. People who don’t get an ID will have to register the old way, and this may become more difficult since it won’t be as routine in the future. The burden will fall most heavily on people who can’t afford cars or otherwise can’t get a driver’s license. They can still get the alternate ID, but those at the economic bottom may not bother. The same people might not be able to vote under an ID requirement, for similar reasons.
Oddly, the people who support DMV registration generally oppose strong ID requirements, and vice versa. Shouldn’t the people who oppose making it harder for the poorest to vote also oppose making it disproportionately easy for the non-poor to vote? My best guess is that looking at the issues from the perspective of entitlement is what makes them appear opposite. Both DMV registration and absence of ID requirements make it possible for people to vote with the least amount of effort. I think the real concern in both cases is that people might have to expend some effort in order to vote and choose not to, not that ID requirements will skew elections.
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