Christie's Decision To Reject Voter Bill Makes Sense

| by Nik Bonopartis
New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Welcome low-information voters! Don't worry if you don't recognize any of the names on the ballot -- vote down party lines, pick names that roll off your tongue, or just close your eyes and jab your finger against the touchscreen! If you do recognize some of the names, that's good news! Vote for the people you recognize, because elections are really large-scale popularity contests, amirite?

If you've seen those TV segments where a smirking reporter is sent out to find random people in public and ask them questions about American history and politics, you'll have an idea of what we'll get if people don't even have to make an effort to vote.

Don't know who George Washington is? No problem! Who's the vice president of the U.S.? Who cares? Trans-Pacific Partnership? That's a transgender rights organization, isn't it? Net neutrality? Well let's see, uh, that's got to have something to do with rules in the NHL, right? Fracking? Yes, I know it! That's the word "Battlestar Galactica" characters would utter instead of dropping f-bombs!

The usual suspects are piling on Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for rejecting a bill that would automatically place New Jersey residents on the voter rolls if they apply for a driver's license, permit or state ID card.

The proposal would cost the state $1 million to implement, the governor said, and another $400,000 annually to maintain.

But it's not really about the money, and as crazy as it sounds, that kind of cash is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money state politicians waste in a given year.

Christie explained one common-sense objection to the plan on Aug. 18 when he spoke to reporters.

"This is just like a cocktail of fraud," Christie said, reported NJ.com. "I don't think a lot to ask someone if you want to exercise your right and the privilege to vote to actually register."

The barrier to voting as it exists now is a simple registration process. Would-be voters have to actively decide to register. That's it.

But proponents of automatic registration -- mostly Democrats -- say that's too high of a barrier, pointing to statistics from a 2014 study by the U.S. Elections Project. That study, which sought to understand why voting turnout is so low in some elections, found 28 percent of Americans said they're "too busy" to vote, according to The Washington Post.

Too busy.

Does that sound like the type of person who has a firm grasp of the issues? Can anyone keep a straight face and claim that the "too busy" crowd takes the time to read about candidates, understand their policy positions and make informed choices? Ideally everyone should vote, but do we want to leave important decisions to people who can't stop tweeting or pause the game for a few minutes to do basic research about contests local, statewide and national?

Regarding the potential for fraud, Christie's right on that, too. Like activists in other states, some groups in New Jersey continually push the state government to issue driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.

The last major push was in 2015, with proponents arguing that issuing driver's licenses to the state's half a million immigrants in the country without permission would somehow make the roads safer, or somehow result in those drivers obtaining insurance. There's no evidence to support either of those claims.

But if the state's next governor is a Democrat, and the immigrant license plan isn't shut down with the threat of a veto, suddenly hundreds of thousands of immigrants here illegally could be cruising New Jersey's roads with government sanction -- and if the automatic registration people get their way, they'll have voting rights, too. Give an inch, take a mile.

Legally and morally, it's difficult to see how there can be any legitimate arguments for the plan. Living in the U.S. isn't a God-given right, nor is driving.

What this is really about is creating a brand new voting bloc for Democrats, selling out U.S. citizens in the process. Whether low-information voters or immigrant voters, the Democrats see more votes for themselves, and anyone who believes Democratic politicians are pushing for automatic registration out of the goodness of their hearts is deluding themselves.

Christie was right to veto the automatic voter registration bill, but he won't be around forever. If New Jerseyans want their state to avoid sinking into even deeper levels of corruption, they should wake up and think about what their politicians are trying to do.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: NJ.com, The Washington Post, Census.gov / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Is automatic voter registration a good idea?
Yes - 0%
Yes - 0%