Voter registration was never nonpartisan

For decades, wealthy Democratic Party donors have poured millions every election cycle into supposedly “nonprofit” and “nonpartisan” organizations like Vote Latino and Black Votes Matter. Since these groups are allegedly nonprofit, they are even allowed to coordinate with state and local governments.

Allegedly, Democratic donors were funding these groups because of their ideological commitment to the belief that democracy works best when everyone who can vote does.

But now that former President Donald Trump is winning more of the unregistered than past Republicans, suddenly Democratic donors are losing their faith in the idea that everyone should vote.

“Indeed, if we were to blindly register nonvoters and get them on the rolls, we would be distinctly aiding Trump’s quest for a personal dictatorship,” Democratic Party strategist Aaron Strauss wrote in a memo obtained by the Washington Post.

About 20% of those who can vote are unregistered. As recently as 2016, those unregistered voters broke for Democrats by a 20-point 51%-31% margin. With that advantage, it made partisan sense for Democrats to register all voters. But in 2024, that margin has shrunk to 42%-40%, just 2 points. It no longer makes partisan sense for Democrats to register everyone.

Instead, Strauss recommends that Democrats only register black voters, who still favor Democrats at high enough margins to justify Democratic dollars being spent to register them.


But this just shows that the Democratic Party focus on voter registration was never nonpartisan. And it definitely won’t be now that Democrats seem poised to only fund groups targeting black voters.

It is far past time for voter registration organizations to lose their nonprofit status and for work promoting voter registration to fall under the Hatch Act ban on political activity by government employees.

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