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O My America: Make America Great Again #1

Lawrence Bush
January 20, 2017

by Lawrence Bush

AS THE TRUMP presidency begins, there are thirty-one states that enforce voter identification requirements, according to Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics. A total of sixteen states require voters to present photo identification, while fifteen accept other forms of identification. Restrictive registration laws are being fought vehemently in the courts. But to make America great again, we can’t entirely rely upon the courts.

Instead, organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU, FairVote, and others who are consistently organizing legal challenges to restrictive voter registration should also now be funded to mount a major voter i.d. campaign, starting right away, to assure that voters in those crucial states in which easier voter registration would actually make a difference receive their photo i.d. or whatever is needed for them to vote. The same people who have gone to Pennsylvania and other swing states to knock on doors to urge Democratic voters to get out and vote during the Obama and Clinton campaigns should now be organized to go and help voters get the i.d. they need.

Voter registration campaigns are hardly new in progressive history! Time to mount another one -- and fine-tune it so that progressive allies are nudged to vote. A voter “buddy” system, in which activists check in with a couple of registered voters a couple of times a year, by phone or by mail, would probably greatly increase turn-out.

Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.