Although voting is one of the most crucial elements of a functioning democracy, the voter turnout is staggeringly low in the US, with only almost half of the population participating in elections. Automated Voter Registration (AVR) is one of the ways to alleviate the problem of low voter turnout. If the Kansas legislature considered adopting the practice of AVR, I would support it because it significantly eases the voter registration process and does not infringe the right to free speech.
AVR considerably alleviates the bureaucratic nature of the voting process. People do not vote because they do not want to deal with all the complexities of the voting process. Having to plan and go to the registration sites takes time and energy. AVR enables potential voters to ease the process by automatically registering them while receiving their driver’s license. Although registering to vote does not necessarily mean that people will vote, AVR still solves the first burden of voter participation.
Some have argued that AVR violates the right to free speech. However, I do not think this is true since individuals always have an easy option to opt out of registration. Even if, to some extent, AVR violates the freedom of speech, I believe it is less substantial and less significant damage than the harm derived from significantly low voter turnout. Individuals who feel AVR infringes their rights can always opt-out, not being forced to vote after registration. Meanwhile, the fact that American politicians are elected by only half of the population significantly damages the quality of American democracy.