In compliance with District of Columbia Act 18-238, the “Omnibus Election Reform Act”, http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/images/00001/20091120113116.pdf, the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) recently revised its voter registration form http://www.dcboee.org/pdf_files/Mail_VRForm_HAVA2003.pdf.
Changes to the form include:
· Information about the change in the age to vote in the District of Columbia which states that you must be at least 17 years old and be at least 18 years old by the next general election; and
· A yes or no question asking “Would you like information on serving as a poll worker for the next election?”.
As a result of the passage of the Act, 17 year old individuals can register and vote in a primary election, if they will be 18 by the next general election. The City Council’s Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (CGOE) reported that “according to testimony presented before the Committee almost half of the states have moved toward this policy because it ‘gives voting-age young people a voice in who appears on the general election ballot [and] encourages young people to vote in the first election for which they are eligible, which has been shown to promote lifelong political participation.’”
CGOE also reported that the Act reduces the age of pre-registration to 16 years old because it “would have the important effect of allowing all persons who register for a driver’s license to register to vote, and would likely increase voter registration in the District.”
Also included in the report, the Act requires the DCBOEE to “include a check-off for voters to signal their interest in being a polling place worker. This small change could have significant effects in polling place worker recruitment.” This is something that I had advocated for years and it took an Act of the City Council to finally get it done.
The DCBOEE took a step on its own and added a box on the form asking for an E-mail address of the applicant. Though the response is optional it will serve as an excellent tool to use to get in touch with the applicant if additional information or clarification is needed regarding the application.
All in all these are good changes that should help with increasing voter participation, recruiting poll workers, and administering the basic duty of the agency which is to register District of Columbia voters.