Commentary

Did GOP shoot itself in the foot by repealing voter preregistration for teens?

Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County

Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County

Sometimes, one has to admit that the forces of the universe are possessed of a wicked sense of humor. Witness this story in today’s Washington Post and the new study on which it is based. According to both, preregistering teens to vote so that they become eligible upon turning 18 does in fact increase participation and turnout — exactly what advocates for the practice have been saying for years.

Here, however, is the LOL kicker from the Post story:

“You might think that anything that increases the turnout of young people would inevitably benefit Democrats, since young people lean toward the Democratic Party.  But that is not what Holbein and Hillygus found.  Although preregistration tended to add more Democrats than Republicans to the rolls — simply because more young people registered as Democrats — it actually reduced the Democratic advantage among those young people who actually voted.”

You got that, Senator Rucho? By repealing teen preregistration as they did in the Monster Voting Law of 2013, North Carolina Republicans quite likely hurt themselves.

As you will recall, when pressed for an explanation for the move to repeal teen preregistration, Rucho, the Senate architect of the proposal said that the old law had been “very confusing” to his high school-aged son. And while this explanation was widely dismissed at the time as a rather transparent bit of excuse making, the new study seems to confirm that maybe Rucho was being straight. After all, by all indications, failing to understand how voting and voting laws law really work is something that runs in the Rucho family.

6 Comments


  1. Tim Peck

    January 13, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    “By repealing teen preregistration as they did in the Monster Voting Law of 2013, North Carolina Republicans quite likely hurt themselves.”

    Isn’t that what you guys want?

  2. Rob Schofield

    January 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I know this is hard for partisans to understand, but some people actually believe in the power of real democracy and full participation in the process by as many citizens as possible — not to promote the advantage of either side, but for their own sake.

  3. Jim Wiseman

    January 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Wishful thinking, but no. The GOP was supported in 2014 due to (or in spite of) its platform.

  4. Gene Hoglan

    January 13, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    So wait, Rucho’s excuse for getting rid of the preregistration is because his kid’s an idiot?

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    January 14, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I am not sure what the worry is. If you have an 18 year old who is interested in voting they just go to one of the myriad of places still in existence to register. There are plenty of opportunities, and you just might get an interested voter rather than signing up every person you see. I for one think we need more people voting who actually pay attention to what is going on vs. one who happens to see one talking points commercial and answers some cattle call and decides to vote.

  6. ML

    January 15, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Yes I agree, the less low info republicans voting would help the process.

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