All posts by Michael Connery

AB 1819 – GOP Blocking the Youth Vote

(It’s great to see Mike Connery posting here – and his point about AB 1819 is excellent. – promoted by Robert in Monterey)

Cross posted from Future Majority.

The level of douchebaggery exhibited by the California Republican Party is astounding.  The SacBee reports that a recent bill brought before the state assembly would seek to allow 16 and 17 year olds to “pre-register” to vote, making them automatically eligible to vote when they turn 18.  Not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill, and many seem to have over-exerted themselves in trying to explain why it’s such a bad idea:

The bill passed the Assembly and was sent to the Senate last month on a party-line vote, 45-31, with no GOP support.

Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, criticized the bill as a Democratic power play.

“For all their sweet-tongue talk about doing what’s right for the country, that’s baloney,” Adams said.

“The truth is, when you’re young you tend to think like a liberal,” he said. “As you get older and wiser … you tend to become more conservative.”

Aside from the fact that the last statement is utter nonsense (pdf), how cynical, and how wrapped up in your own personal power do you need to be before you can make these statements without a little piece of your soul dying with them?  I know that Republicans like to suppress the vote, but I never expected them to be so blatant about their motives.  Usually they at least try to cloak it in their own “baloney” about “voter fraud” or some other fantasy menace.  

One of Assemblyman Adam’s GOP colleagues was more subtle:

Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, said his opposition to AB 1819 has nothing to do with partisan politics. The state should excite teenagers about voting, not play a useless numbers game by amassing forms from disinterested students who can’t cast ballots for two years, he said.

“(I want) to have a citizenry that is informed, engaged and interested,” Niello said. “If you have that, they’ll register to vote – and they’ll vote.”

So the state should “excite teenagers about voting” (whatever that means), but shouldn’t actually allow them to register to vote.  If the state GOP really believes that youth will naturally vote Democrat (not necessarily a given; see: Ronald Reagan), in what way is this not playing the numbers game?

The state should do whatever it can to increase registration rates among all voters, including youth who participate at lower rates precisely because many lack a valid registration.  Anything else is playing politics with the voting rights of the electorate.