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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Rounding up the slackers

We don't have nearly enough apathetic voters who rarely even show up at the polls and have no clue about any of the issues when they do vote. Thank goodness someone cares enough to remedy the situation:

Voters' rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday charging that Indiana fails to provide public assistance applicants the chance to register to vote, violating federal law.

[. . .]

Such voter registration in Indiana has declined by 97 percent since 1995-96, when the act took effect, Kovite said. Back then, Indiana registered more than 3,400 people under the act, but by 2008, the figure was 105. Indiana ranks 44th in the country in registered low-income citizens.

The suit accuses the state of violating the law by routinely failing to "distribute voter registration applications" and provide help "in completing those applications" to those applying for Medicaid, food stamps or other assistance.

Marcus Barlow, spokesman for FSSA, denied the allegations. He said FSSA employees are trained to offer voter registration, that agency offices employ voting coordinators and that assistance applications include a section asking applicants whether they want to register. He attributed the 97 percent dropoff to more voter registration opportunities in other places.

Barlow may be overstating the zeal with which his agency complies with the law, but his point is well taken. Nobody is denying registration to anyone, and there are lots of places to register without having to particularly go out of one's way. Anybody who doesn't participate in the process under current conditions simply doesn't care enough to do so. What's the point of moving heaven and earth to drag them into it?