Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Bearer-Friend & Williamson: Tax-Time Voter Registration

Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) & Vanessa Williamson (Brookings Institution), Tax-Time Voter Registration, 168 Tax Notes Fed. 1013 (Aug. 10, 2020):

In this article, we examine the rationale for voter registration at the time of return filing, lay out a strategy for a new “Schedule VR,” and consider some potential implementation challenges. We conclude that various options are available for expanding voter registration through tax return filing, either at the federal or state level. Those committed to ensuring broad access to voting in the United States should consider these tax-time voter registration options.

The annual process of tax return filing is a ripe opportunity to expand access to full citizenship. Individuals who are already engaging with government through the filing of federal or state tax forms should have the option of using those forms to register to vote. The forms could ask for all necessary information and refer that data to relevant voter registration entities, or the forms could simply ask filers if they would like to be contacted by the relevant voter registration agencies so that additional sensitive voter registration data isn’t submitted to revenue agents. With many options for implementation, tax-time voter registration is a valuable tool to ensure that all citizens enjoy the right to vote.

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Sure! Put it after the total tax, state and local tax, and "major categories of federal income and outlays" from the instructions (and require reliable identification at some point). When better for everyone to think about voting?

Posted by: Anand Desai | Sep 2, 2020 11:12:56 PM

Amen, Bruce James Russell.

We're lucky that the Marxists haven't yet proposed mandatory voting under penalty of misdemeanor or felony. Many ruined countries do this. Predictably, it helps get more leftists elected.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 2, 2020 2:01:29 PM

There is no place in this country where there is even the slightest, tiniest problem with registering to vote - as long as you are a citizen and haven't had the privilege rescinded by a criminal court felony conviction.

And it is deeply racist to insult blacks and other minorities with an insinuation that they're too stupid to figure out how to register to vote.

So, no, there is absolutely no need whatsoever for this inane program.

Posted by: EndOfPatience | Sep 1, 2020 6:59:16 AM

You do not have to be a citizen to file a tax return. This is a bad idea unless proof of citizenship is an additional requirement

Posted by: Billsv | Sep 1, 2020 6:20:51 AM

my mood while filing is not exactly pro engagement with government

but maybe I'm an exception

Posted by: martin | Sep 1, 2020 6:18:15 AM

The real purpose is to expand the power of those who can best motivate low information, low motivation voters.

Posted by: Bruce James Russell | Sep 1, 2020 5:55:52 AM