Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pappas v. Faar: The Case for Automatic Voter Registration

It's been exactly four months since Election Day and some counties are still dealing with the aftermath of recounts, registration issues, and challenged ballots!

In the Santa Barbara County Supervisor race, a trial has been raging between the incumbent, Steve Pappas, and his challenger, Doreen Farr. In November, Farr won the election by 806 votes. After a recount, ordered by Pappas in December, one vote was switched to Pappas’ favor. Pappas contested the outcome, citing forgery and illegal registrations – most of which, he contends, occurred in the UC Santa Barbara and Isla Vista areas.

9,000 votes specifically from the UC Santa Barbara campus have been challenged. Due to exponential growth of voter registration efforts on the UCSB college campus, Pappas believes that registration fraud – and ultimately, voter fraud, has occurred. Pappas’ attorneys claim that (allegedly) incomplete and late voter registration forms should not be processed, and correspondingly, those votes should not be counted.

The voter fraud trial between Pappas and Faar is currently on hold, but when proceedings resume on March 11th, Pappas’ attorney is expected to call witnesses who participated in voter registration drives on the UCSB campus. With the echoes of these registration issues still reverberating throughout the local and national news, Americans must look for a way to modernize the system. The time has come for Automatic Voter Registration!

America relies on one of the most outdated systems of voter registration in the world. Wouldn’t life be easier if every American were automatically registered at the age of eighteen? This way, organizations like Declare Yourself could focus less on registering and more on getting out the vote! Also, elected officials like Pappas and Farr could spend less time tied up in court and more time legislating on issues that matter most to Americans!

Visit the Declare Yourself website to talk back to your officials and write a letter to your Secretary of State. Ensure the validity of your vote – and the votes of Americans across the country – by demanding Automatic Voter Registration!