IS the nation's new system for quick sign-ups of potential...


June 27, 1995

IS the nation's new system for quick sign-ups of potential voters working? Here is what the Prince George's Journal thinks:

"Motor-voter registration is a darn good idea, even if certain conservative governors from other states disagree. Some election officials in Maryland say the law, in effect since January, adds to their bureaucratic headaches and expense. But they say the problems don't seem insurmountable.

"If more people register to vote and then vote -- hurray! The whole idea of lining up at the Motor Vehicle Administration to get a driver's license and then getting to register to vote almost instantly on the same visit is a brilliant one. You almost want to wave a flag and eat apple pie, it's so democratic.

"President Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 over the criticism of Republicans. Many conservatives worried that making it easy to register would mean the hoi polloi would grab the reins of power. Others said the act was another unfunded federal mandate that would cost too much to implement.

"There are some problems in the law that bother some election officials in the state that do sound bureaucratic: Every new registrant has to be sent a confirmation card, and every letter sent to election officials has to get a written response. But some of the nonsense in the law shouldn't be used to cloud its central function and value -- to get more people to register.

"Now, if the new registrants will just vote. Which reminds us of a hot date to keep in mind: The Maryland presidential primary is March 5, 1996 -- only 265 candidate shopping days remain!"

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