The right to vote is the most fundamental way to participate in the political process and is a foundation of democracy. One of the pressing issues that we face today is that of voter suppression. First and foremost, voting should not be difficult. Casting a ballot should be as easy and accessible as possible. After all, the more people who vote, the likelier we are of having true representation and good democracy.
Following are seven ways to increase voter participation. First, upon turning eighteen years old, a U.S. citizen should be registered to vote automatically. Next, we must acknowledge that having only one day for voting potentially excludes many eligible voters, either due to work, weather, travel or other unforeseen circumstances. Three ways to circumvent these potential obstacles are by allowing vote by mail, increasing the window of opportunity for early voting, and creating a number of satellite voting sites.
People who were formally incarcerated have served their time and should be afforded all the rights that the rest of the population enjoys, including the right to vote. The restoration of voting rights should be both automatic and without condition.
Same-day registration would increase voter participation, too. People who have moved should not be excluded from voting because the timing of their move falls outside of arbitrarily set time parameters.
Finally, there would be many more people voting by mail if the absentee ballot request form could be submitted online. More voters can be accommodated by increasing the number of ways they can request an absentee ballot.
Dismantling voter suppression practices is a key step to promoting democracy. These seven ways of increasing voter participation would be easy to implement and should be prioritized in every state.
Lisa Green-Douglass is a Democratic candidate for Johnson County Board of Supervisors.