Walt Maddox wants to increase voter participation by automatic voter registration, early voting

Walt Maddox
[Photo via Walt Maddox Facebook]
Tuscaloosa Mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor Walt Maddox has announced a new plan to help increase voter participation across the Yellowhammer State: he wants automatic voter registration and early voting.
“Voting is the most important way a citizen contributes to democracy, so we should strengthen Alabama by doing everything we can to improve voter participation,” Maddox said.

“Considering Alabama’s dismal rate of voter registration, low turnout of those who are registered, and the fact that the winner only gets a little more than half the votes in any given race, the truth is that only about 10 percent of our state’s population will actually decide who our state’s next leaders will be,” he continued. “We’re doing what we can to get out the vote on November 6th, but for elections in years to follow we need more forward looking ways to improve citizen participation.”

Automatic voter registration

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, automatic voter registration has been approved by 13 other states and D.C. Essentially, through the aid of a state-based agency, typically the state license offices, all voting-eligible, non-felon citizens become automatically registered to vote through interating with said office.

“By implementing automatic registration for citizens when they turn eighteen, we assure that young adults hit the ground running in meeting their civic responsibility to participate in elections,” Maddox explained. “This would give every eligible individual the registered voter status his or her citizenship should earn automatically.”

Early voting

In the United States, only 13 states that do not have some form of early voting and Alabama is one of those states. Maddox wants to change that to allow qualified voters to cast their ballot ahead of Election Day.

“We must also join the majority of states and implement early voting. The idea of a single twelve hour period in which we vote for the state’s most important offices is outdated and counterproductive,” explained Maddox. “We can debate whether it should be a period of one week or one month leading up to Election Day – the average is around 20 days – but what’s not debatable is that early voting is proven to increase voter turnout.”

Maddox did not specify whether he’d like to see early voting done by mail-in ballot or early-voting sites.

Alabama does have absentee voting available for those unable to make it to the polls on Election Day.

Maddox faces off against incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday, Nov. 6.