State senators are making voting laws an issue this year. A mostly Democratic group of senators has introduced a set of bills they say will make voting easier for everyone.
One of the bills would allow people to preregister to vote when they turn 16 – as long as they have a driver’s license or a state ID card.
Democratic Senator Steve Bieda is a bill sponsor. Calling the legislation innovative, he said the state needs to keep up with modern times when it comes to voting.
“It’s been used with some great success in a number of other states,” he said. “It would save money and frankly it would help encourage younger people, as a rite of passage, to register to vote.”
Another bill would allow for electronic filing of voter registration applications, and the other would allow no-reason absentee voting.
Bieda called them “common sense” reforms.
“We are a service industry,” he said. “We serve the public, and we serve at the public’s discretion. This is a way of allowing people to exercise their right to vote and register more easily.”
The State House of Representatives also unveiled a voting reform package two weeks ago. Spearheaded by Democrats, their package also includes no-reason absentee voting.
Bieda said the issue of making voting easier and accessible shouldn’t be a party issue.
“Philosophically what we believe in is that every citizen has a right to vote, every vote should be counted, and everybody has a right at the table to make their voice heard,” he said. “And they do that at the ballot box.”