Justice official: Register voters automatically
WASHINGTON - One of the top enforcers of the nation's civil rights laws says government should be responsible for automatically registering citizens to vote by using existing databases to compile lists of all eligible residents in each jurisdiction.
The proposal by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, chief of the Justice Department's civil rights division, follows an election with breakdowns that forced voters in many states to wait in line for hours.
In remarks at George Washington University law school, Perez said census data shows that of 75 million adult citizens who failed to vote in the 2008 presidential election, 60 million were not registered and therefore ineligible to cast a ballot.
Perez says one of the biggest barriers to voting in this country is an antiquated registration system.