On Day of Massive Data Breach, Hillary Clinton Advocates Voter Registration Enabled by 'Technology'

Susan Jones | June 5, 2015 | 8:18am EDT
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Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivers a speech on voter registration at Texas Southern University in Houston on June 4, 2015. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for "universal, automatic voter registration" enabled by "technology."

Coincidentally, but notable nevertheless, the federal government announced the largest data breach in its history just hours after Clinton told a crowd in Texas that Oregon is "already leading the way" in modernizing its voter registration system -- "and the rest of the country should follow," she said.

"The technology is here," Clinton said -- on a day when that technology appeared particularly vulnerable.

"States already have a lot of the data that is needed. It's just a matter of syncing and streamlining," she added.

In March of this year, Oregon became the first state to shift from an opt-in to an opt-out voter registration system for those who renew or apply for a driver's license or a state ID with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The information provided to DMV -- full legal name, address, Social Security number, proof of citizenship -- is forwarded to state elections officials, who notify residents by mail that they have established their eligibility to vote and don’t need to do anything else to register.

When voters change any of that information with DMV, those changes will automatically be reflected in their voter registrations.

On Thursday, the FBI announced it is investigating "how and why" hackers, apparently in China, broke into the computer networks of the federal Office of Personnel Management, stealing the information of at least 4 million current and former federal workers -- names, addresses, Social Security numbers, etc.

Stolen information on people with security clearances is a particular concern, because it could be used to impersonate or blackmail federal employees with access to sensitive information, the Associated Press reported.

In her remarks on Thursday, Clinton said, "Every young man or young woman should be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they actively choose to opt out. But I think this would have a profound impact on our elections and our democracy.

Clinton noted that between a quarter and a third of all eligible Americans are not registered to vote.

"And we should modernize our entire approach to registration. The system we have is a relic from an earlier age that relies on a blizzard of paper records. It's full of errors.

In fact, we can do better by making sure registration rolls are secure, up to date, and complete, so when you move, your registration should move with you."

Clinton blamed Republicans in general and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry in particular for trying to "disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people from one end of our country to the other."

She complained that a "valid student ID," which is not proof of citizenship, is not an acceptable form of ID at Texas polling places.

She said it's unacceptable for voters to wait more than 30 minutes in line to vote; or for non-English-speaking voters to be left without language assistance at the polls.

Clinton noted that as a senator, she "championed" a bill that would have made Election Day a federal holiday and required early voting opportunities. On Thursday she said, "We should set a standard across our country of at least 20 days of early, in-person voting, everywhere, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting.

"If families coming out of church on Sunday are inspired to go vote, they should be free to do just that."  Clinton was speaking at Texas Southern University, a historically black college in Houston. Many African Americans are church-goers who vote Democrat.

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