Vote suppression, accidentally or on purpose

NYTimes: Voter Registration by Students Raises Cloud of Consequences – NYTimes.com. See also Cavalier Daily, Voter registration code raises concerns (temporarily dead link, use the PDF version). Brief version: two bulletins from the registrar of elections for Montgomery County in Virginia advised students, incorrectly, that registering to vote in Virginia could cost them scholarship money, insurance coverage, and could cost their parents through loss of dependent status.

Bureaucratic foulup, or deliberate suppression?

One would think that the registrar of elections would be interested in facilitating voter turnout.

There’s a little bit of a blog kerfluffle about this right now–seems Jon Taplin reported it as a Republican suppression effort, but there’s no evidence that the registrar, Randall Wertz, is partisan. But the sort of consequences for registering to vote are pretty typical vote-suppression claims, and Wertz seems proud of the eight students who called to withdraw their applications.

So it could go either way, but it seems to me that we should be encouraging Montgomery County to register more students.

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