Skip to content

Why do we even have voter registration?
Registration itself is the number one vote suppression horror show in America

On National Voter Registration Day, Palast and Flashpoints host Dennis Bernstein ponder the big question: Why do we even have voter registration?

We didn’t always have registration of voters in America. It started pretty much in Pennsylvania when they were trying to stop Black people who had been moving up from the South from voting. Registration was initially only in the cities for city dwellers. You had the Italian immigrants, the Black diaspora coming up from the South, and then in New York you had Jews. Registration was something that was meant for minorities, for working people, for immigrants to give them a hurdle. In fact, when New York City first started registrations, they only allowed you to register on Saturday, which was a way to stop Jews from registering to vote.

It’s a crime to vote if you’re not American, a go to jail crime. There is no reason for these laws, except the value of registration is to stop people from voting. And the real value of registration is to remove people’s registration, the so-called purge, like the enema of the voter rules.

So, registration itself is the number one vote suppression horror show in America, and it hasn’t been here forever. And by the way, North Dakota has no voter registration and you don’t see a bunch of Canadians rushing in and picking their governor. You don’t see moose or buffalo crowding the polling stations. Without voter registration, somehow they have fair and clean elections. So, why do we have registration? So we can remove registrations and stop people from voting.

Stay informed in the run up to the midterms, subscribe to our newsletter.

Catch the Election Crimes Bulletin each week on KPFA’s FlashPoints News or via our PodCast — now available on PodBean and your favorite podcast services.

Dennis J. Bernstein is the executive producer and host of Flashpoints, an award winning front-line investigative news magazine focusing on human, civil and workers' rights, issues of war and peace, global warming, racism and poverty, and other issues. Flashpoints is broadcast weekdays at 5 PM PST on the Pacifica Radio station KPFA-FM (94.1) in Berkeley, California and is relayed on Pacifica's national feed.

Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, Armed Madhouse, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and the book and documentary, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
His latest film is Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman

Palast is currently working on a new documentary Long Knife, exposing the Koch Brothers' theft of Osage oil, to be released in 2024.

Support The Palast Investigative Fund and keep our work alive.
Become a monthly Contributor.

Subscribe to Palast's Newsletter

Support the Palast Fund and keep our work alive!
Send this to a friend