Be Sure You Have not Been Taken off the List of Registered Voters

In Washington over 400,000 people has been taken off the list of registered voters since 2006 and  slightly more than a quarter of the eligible population is not registered to vote.

Washingtonians should promptly confirm that they can vote.  This can be done very easily by checking here.  If there is a problem, you must contact the county election department, which can be reached through this site.

There are many aspects to the problem of unregistered voters.  (The United States which bills itself as the paragon of global democracy actually is significantly less democratic than other Western democracies if percentage of people voting is used as the index.  Here the feeling of disenfranchisement, as well as actual hindrance to voting, is higher than other countries.)

One aspect of this problem is that some voters find on election day that the doors of the polls are closed to them.  In 2004 this was literally true in Ohio, a state that decided the presidential election.  But I’m writing about a different problem: those voters who arrive at the polls and find that they are not registered.

In Washington 15 percent of the population moves each year.  Most of these people do not update their voting records right away.  Voting-related material is sent out periodically and if any is returned because the person moved, that person is placed on the inactive voter list. If two federal elections go by without that person having voted he or she is removed from the registered voter list entirely.

In some states the Secretary of State has been aggressive about sending out mail to take people off the active voting list.  I at least am unaware that Washington has seen any such activity intended to reduce the number of registered voters for this upcoming election.


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