Voters should take advantage of new online registration system

Herald Staff


The issue: Voter turnout in Kentucky is very low and has been increasingly so for the past few years.

Our stance: While Kentucky is lagging behind in some areas, it’s making voting more accessible to people of the Commonwealth.

Last Thursday the author of “Give us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting rights in America” and political reporter Ari Berman spoke at WKU. Going along with the theme of his book and much of what he reports on, he discussed the dangers of voter disenfranchisement and the current state of voters’ rights in America.

“A bunch of different states are restricting voting rights currently,” Berman said in an interview. “States like North Carolina and Wisconsin and Texas and right here in Kentucky.”

Berman was referencing an executive order signed by the previous governor Steve Beshear last November that current governor Matt Bevin overturned in December. If it remained the executive order would have restored 140,000 nonviolent ex-felons’ rights to votes.

Legislation like this is restricting citizens’ right to vote and making our country less of a democracy, taking us backwards instead of forward.

Currently one-third of voter-eligible Kentuckians are not registered to vote and of the two-thirds who are registered, only 30 percent turned out for the last election. This is appalling.

Berman offered his suggestions on how states can cut back on voter restrictions. He said that states need to offer online voter registration, same day voter registration, automatic voter registration and early voting.

On the same day as Berman’s lecture, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes spoke about her new online voter registration system.

The system was approved three weeks ago by state legislation. This is the very first time Kentuckians are able to register to vote online. Hopefully it will help to increase voter turnout during the next election.

You can register to vote online at It’s actually really easy and a surprisingly fast process. All of the information you need to provide is information that you will probably already have memorized, like your social security number and date of birth. The one bit of personal information that might trip you up is finding your license ID number, but that’s just because most people don’t have that memorized. In this situation it serves as your signature.

The only difference between the online registration and traditional registration is that a social security number is required. However, it provides a pressure-free setting for anyone with internet access to register.

There isn’t a reason that anyone who is eligible to vote shouldn’t. Go online and register now, then mark your calendar for the next election. Your vote matters.