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Door To Door Registration Coming Back

Door To Door Registration Coming Back image
Parent Issue
Day
30
Month
July
Year
1975
OCR Text

Door-to-door voter registration, which was instrumental in changing the face of Ann Arbor politics in the fust years of the 1 8 year oíd vote, but which was discontinued under former Republican Mayor James Stephenson, faces almost certain approval by City Council August 18. At its July 21 meeting, Council set a public hearing for August 1 1 and a final vote for a week later on a plan to permit citizens to volunteer as deputy voter registrars and sign up potential voters at any location in the city or by going door-todoor. As expectèd, the registration proposal stimulated sharp partisan debate between the Republican minority and the Democratic-HRP majority on Council. Council Republicans-who still have strong misgivings about students voting in Ann Arbor-have attempted to curtail registration in the past. In 1974, Democrats joined the HRP in a federal court suit challenging the complete lack of any voter registration site in the city's heavily student Second Ward. The suit failed, but both the Human Rights and Democratie Parties have continued to advocate more accessible and widespread voter sign-up procedures in the city. When the two parties gained a majority on City Council in April's local election, extended voter registration was only a matter of time. "Every single Democratie candidate had very, very clearly favored door-to-door registration," Carol Jones, Second Ward Democratie Councilwoman told the SUN. "It was a campaign promise." "I think it is the city's responsibility to ma.ke registering to vote as accessible to the people as possible," remarked HRP Councilwoman Kathy Kozachenko, also from the Second Ward. "It seems to me," she continued, "that the right to vote is basic to the American concept of democracy and freedom." Republicans objected to the registration plan on the basis of what they see as the lack of regulation and the "potential for fraud" in the new procedures. They also point to the defeat of another voter registration proposal at the polls last April. "I think that the voters of Ann Arbor. have already turned that down pretty heavily," stated Third Ward Republican Robert Henry. He said that he considered the current move for door-to-door registration "pretty damn arrogant." However, Carol Jones points out that there are significant differences between the plan rejected by voters and the one now before City Council, one feature of which is that it is a resolution and not a City Charter amendment. She feels that a majority of voters probably favor doorto-door registration in principie. Underlying the philosophical differences are very pragmatic considerations. According to Jones, "Republicans have all along been opposed to voter registration primarily for a practical reason: that the majority of the new voters will probably not vote Republican."