Monday, October 24, 2005

Registering People to Vote Must be Stopped?????

Because why would we want people to do that?

A new affordable housing-fund bill (H.R. 1461) will be considered by the House of Representatives in the next few weeks. Buried within that bill is the provision that non-profits can't take advantage of this pool of money to help their low-income clients if they have engaged in voter registration or any other non-partisan voter participation activities in the last 12 months. They would also be barred from those activities during the grant period, even if non-federal funds were used to pay for those activities.

The key here is non-partisan activities. Most non-profits are already barred from issue-specific lobbying. But registering people to vote? How can that be construed as a bad thing in a representative democracy? Why would we discourage this? (I really do know the answer, but I'm stunned that the administration would be so up-front about this.)

The thing is, housing advocates and their clients really do need the money the bill would provide. So, if you feel moved to send your Representative yet another e-mail, perhaps the message should just be that we would like the voter registration restrictions removed from H.R. 1461. Well, that... and who the heck do you think you are, anyway, restricting voter registration?

Okay, maybe not that last part.


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