It’s refreshing when that great bipartisan, Senator Scott Brown, shows his true Republican colors, as when he exploded upon learning that the Department of Transitional Assistance is helping citizens in contact with that agency to exercise their right to vote (“Brown rips voter registration effort: Sees political motive in welfare mailing; state says it was part of settlement,” Page A1, Aug. 9).
Some Republicans couch their vote-suppression activity in the guise of preventing fraud, but give Brown credit for honesty: He’s outraged because poor people are more likely to vote Democratic.
The participation of the Department of Transitional Assistance in voter registration merely levels the playing field. Besides having fewer occasions to be at Registry of Motor Vehicle offices, low-income people face barriers to keeping voter registration current that are usually not faced by Brown’s suburban neighbors.
For example, when tenement buildings go into foreclosure, their tenants typically scatter, making their previous registrations invalid or impractical. They may not be able to visit city election offices to reregister during business hours. Even though they can now download mail-in registration forms, many poor people lack access to a computer and printer.
If it’s any consolation, Brown should consider that, in contrast to his Wall Street and coal industry backers, who, since Citizens United, can exercise their so-called free speech by funding unlimited volumes of campaign advertisements, each of the citizens on public assistance who are helped to register by the agency will be able to vote exactly once.