Group Calls for Automatic Voter Registration in Texas

A liberal group is blasting Texas' low voter participation record, and the Center for American Progress is suggesting several steps to make voting easier, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Only 14% of Bexar County's registered voters bothered to cast a ballot in the March primary.

Danielle Root of the Center says one way to overcome that would be automatic voter registration.

"People who are registered to vote turn out at higher rates," she said.  "People who are registered to vote are often more motivated."

Texas was also blasted for failing to implement the Clinton era 'Motor Voter' law, which calls for people to be automatically registered to vote if they are eligible when they renew their driver's license.

Texas argues that since it does not allow on line voter registration, it cannot participate in Motor Voter because most people renew their license on line.

Root says registered voters are automatically more informed, because they regularly receive mailings and phone calls from the political parties.

"Or by grass roots groups that are dong voter outreach."

She says Texas would automatically gain 1.9 million new registered voters, and she predicts some 700,000 of those would actually cast ballots.

Root says same day registration, which is allowed in many states, also hikes voter participation.  Many young voters, for example, don't know that you have to register several weeks before election day to be eligible to vote, and each election, voters are turned away because they haven't registered.Under same day registration, an eligible voter could register, and then immediately cast a ballot.

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