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The Positive and Negative Criticisms on Same-Day Registration

It is emphasized by Rose (1999) that registration procedures should be refined in order to obtain a desirable amount of voting turnouts. Many states in America had made their moves towards making it easy for people to go into the process of registration. The use of deputy registrars and post card registration, together with other programs still were not able to answer everything in lie with this problem. Still many experienced bureaucratic obstacles that hindered them from being eligible to select their respective candidates in the election.

According to studies in 1984, almost half of legal aged people were not able to vote because of failure to register. Seventeen percent mentioned about being not interested in politics, whereas 47% did not make it because of migration to other states. Eleven percent raised that they had work during the registration period, 6% did not know that it was already the registration period, and 3% were too far from the registration sites. Since America is a democratic country, the result of the elections is based mainly on the initiatives of the citizens.

Surprisingly, even the difficulties were present, high turnouts have been observed. To sum it up, a higher turnout can be obtained when the registration is easy, and then there is the opposite (232). California is among the six states which implements this kind of policy. Due to court rulings and legislations, state were not that strict on carrying out registration deadlines or residency requirements which is lengthened 30 days before the election proper (National Commission on Federal Election Reform, 2002, p. 37).

Same-day registration or election-day registration was conceptualized as one of the efforts to address this problem (National Commission on Federal Election Reform, 2002, p. 37). Same with other registration procedures, this can be abused by some or most of the candidates for registration. Most especially to the computerization of the registration, there can be a lot of interferences that those who would like to modify the results can possibly do. There is also a possibility of questioning the validity of registration for this kind of protocol which is thrown as an administrative burden.

Even though these problems may arise, this is still an easier method for registration instead of the usual pencils and papers, which can impose burdensome tasks, and are in fact tedious for record keeping (Rose, 1991, p. 235). A negative criticism on the laws pertaining to same-day registration is on the plan to implement it as a national policy. Their claim is that it will strip-off the rights of the individual states to come up with their own policies, as per their traditional powers implemented in a federal system of government, used in the United States.

This involves administrative issues, contradicting to the understanding of critics, citing issues of federal interference when state policies abridged the right to vote, which is constitutional. There is also a possibility that the states may misuse poll taxes or literacy tests. This makes the suspected issues on violating rights shifted to more of the administrative issue (Rose, 1991, p. 242). Each state has the opportunity to adopt election-day registrations, in their own way according to the existing laws or proposed laws that may arise in need to answer the cater the needs of this kind of implementation.

Even though they have this kind of power, almost half of the states still do not adopt this reform. In the past efforts regarding the nationwide voter registration policy, the reformers usually take as their point of attack for those who are against it that there are only a few states which do not want to recognize this reform, especially on the racist southern states. Those who are against the said implementation want to eliminate the poll tax, literacy test, etc. A problem regarding the movement towards nationalization of the policy is that many states also do not recognize the merits.

“Liberal” state legislatures which are self-respecting are also against this policy (Rose, 1999, p. 242). Although the liberals and intellectuals that aim to preserve the federalism there is in the United States and the varying policies that identifies the states from each other ignore this proposition, there are still some positive impacts when this policy is allowed to take over the problems in registration procedures. With regards to the integrity of the same-day elections, there are reasonable disagreements pertaining to the notion of the degree of corruptibility of this kind of policy.

There are instances wherein registrants present themselves as someone who are already eligible to vote, but in fact they are not, and are basically the weakness of manual registration where there is a danger for the registration official in their respective precincts to be unable to verify it from the registrant. They say that this tendency would be less for this kind of system of registration compared to the paper and pencil method. Documentation in the web is a very much easy task than to elimination of the future problems regarding cheats for those who can afford to pay for abusive voters (Rose, 1999, p.

243). There are evidences that support the outcomes of election-day registration. There is a possibility of having a modest (5-8%) impact on improving the voter turnouts. With this evidence, many states still prefer registrations before the elections since the effect would be that all the burdens would come on that day as a one time big time administrative problem especially for large states (National Commission on Federal Election Reform, 2002, p. 37). Same–day election is treated by some as the last resort in response to the low registration returns and turnouts.

This is treated equivalent to absentee voting and even to post-card voting as other people may say. Although it may conquer the limitation of verification procedures, still there are many who throw negative responses to this, mostly those who are conservative in the preservation of the federal nature of U. S. administration. Weighing the positive responses towards this, compared to the negative responses would be good move to do, and experimentation may be done to prove its effectiveness rather than just criticizing the policy. As for me, experimentation with this policy is not a bad effort to do.

The individual states should be given the ample time to reflect on the mores, the values, and the customs of their respective states in a very unique manner among other countries all around the globe, in order to magnify the positivity and interferences that might overrule their own policies. Establishing laws that may regulate the interference of this national policy may be formed by these states in order for them to still be able to enact on this policy but still with respect to how they want this policy to be implemented to their respective states.

Also, having evidence presented in this paper that a 5-8% turnout could be obtained through the implementation of this policy, it would not be a waste of effort to consider conducting such a kind of registration practice. This would help people to avoid having hard time going to the precincts to avail of the right to vote. In the first place, the administrative branch must be responsible enough to handle difficulties for this policy if ever adopted, because this will secure what the people really wants in position, which will last for until the term of the leaders elected on position.


National Commission on Federal Election Reform. (2002). To Assure the Pride and Confidence in the Electoral Process: Report of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform. Washington, DC: Brookings Institutions Press. Retrieved July 25, 2008, from http://books. google. com/books? id=QLHhCtmIZCUC Rose, Gary L. (1999). Controversial Issues in Presidential Elections. Ithaca: SUNY Press. Retrieved July 25, 2008, from http://books. google. com/books? id=jyIhGgBGatY

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