America has a long history of limiting the right to vote, but Tom Epstein says California is enacting new laws to expand the voter rolls and make it easier to vote.
As we enter 2018, hundreds of new state laws take effect in California, including one allowing counties to send everyone a mail-in ballot. It can then be dropped off at early voting sites until Election Day. At a time when voting rights are under attack, that’s a good thing.
Other recent laws will register you to vote when you get a new driver’s license; or you can even register on Election Day. These reforms increased voter rolls by nearly 10% the past two years and a million more Californians voted in 2016 than ever before.
These steps to encourage voting stand in stark contrast to centuries of barriers that began with the Founders. At the country’s birth, the white men who wrote the Constitution gave only themselves the right to cast a ballot.
It took the Civil War to legalize voting by African-Americans, but literacy tests and poll taxes disenfranchised many until they were outlawed by the Voting Rights Act in 1967.