The Maddow Blog – Getting out the vote versus getting rid of the vote

The news day got away from me a little bit yesterday but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to highlight Tuesday’s most-gasped-at graphics. In the segment introducing Denver election clerk and recorder, Debra Johnson, Rachel compared the Denver Elections Division map of percentage of “inactive voters” per precinct (pdf) with a map of 2010 Census block data on race/ethnicity (pdf).

And then, sitting alone on my couch, I heard the internet gasp.

On the surface it looks like if you wanted to make it harder for blacks and Hispanics in Denver to vote, you could start by not sending “inactive voters” a ballot. I think the actual answer is a little different but not much more complicated. An inactive voter is defined as someone who didn’t vote in the 2010 elections or more recent municipal elections, and hasn’t taken care of re-upping. In other words, if you came out for Obama in 2008 and then went back to your life ignoring politics, the state regards you as “inactive” and the Secretary of State doesn’t want to send you a ballot to vote (for Obama again?) in 2012.

It’s doubly disappointing that people who are less engaged in politics are being encouraged to disengage further.

Square State Democrats, are you paying attention?

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