In one of my earlier blogs I wrote about the state of our electoral process. I discussed how our democracy was in crisis because voting was becoming too difficult and apathy was growing. These two factors had combined to create an environment where people did not want to cast a ballot anymore. I wrote this blog shortly after HB258, the bill that would have eliminated straight party voting, was defeated in committee. I was very pessimistic about the prospect of our legislators addressing this issue during the session.
I was just happy they did not seem to be making it any harder to vote.
The one bright spot in the beginning of the legislative session was HB91, which would allow for same day voter registration. It was the one bill during the whole session that would really help our electoral process and encourage more voting. I watched this bill all session. I waited for something to happen, but it seemed to be stuck. The bill could not get out of Rules and I had given up on it getting anywhere this year.
This all changed last week. Finally HB91 had been assigned to a committee. Then the House Operations Committee passed the bill to the floor by a vote of 6 in favor to 2 opposed. On Friday the bill passed the House by a vote of 53 in favor to 14 opposed. This bill that will help our electoral process is now waiting for a vote in the Senate, something that I thought was impossible two weeks ago.
The progression of HB91 shows how quickly things can change and how fast things move in the final two weeks of the legislative session. Bills can be brought back to life or die within a matter of hours. The legislature will be voting on a lot of issues today and tomorrow and we must stay focused to make sure the good bills pass and the bills that only make things worse do not. We need to contact our legislators and tell them what we think and why. We need to make sure that they do the right things for our state, one of which is passing same day voter registration.