The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Automatic Voter Registration

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,293 times Debate No: 81327
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I have debated this topic previously, though the user I was debating with closed his account. I would like to try and have a proper debate over the topic of automatic voter registration. I shall argue in favor of automatic voter registration, while my opponent shall argue against it. BOP is shared. The structure of the Debate shall be as follows:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening Arguments
Round 3: Main Arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals
Round 5: Closing Arguments

I look forward to debating this topic, and welcome anyone willing to accept my debate challenge.


I accept.
My argument will focus on how democracy cannot survive with AVR. I will expound on this idea of mine in the round ahead when we are able to give arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I want to thank my opponent for accepting this debate challenge.

Now, as of November 2014, there are approximately 219 million citizens of the United States that are eligible to vote, however, out of those people eligible to vote, approximately 142 million of those people are officially registered to vote, constituting roughly fifty-nine percent of the total US voting-age population, leaving roughly seventy-eight million Americans unregistered to vote. [1] What I would like to argue is for a system that makes it easier for any of these unregistered voters to register, and I believe that automatic voter registration would solve this problem.

Automatic voter registration, also known as universal voter registration, is a system in which the central government automatically registers any and all citizens once they reach the age at which they can vote. This would be accomplished by utilizing existing government databases to keep track of which citizens have become eligible to vote, and then automatically register those citizens to vote. Meanwhile, any citizens who do not want to register to vote would have the option to opt out of the voting registration process. [2]

Right now, the state of Oregon has adopted an automatic voter registration measure that would automatically register anyone in the state who is eligible to vote, and who currently has a driver's license in the state,[3] and, California is considering adopting a similar measure.[4] I believe that having the United State as a whole adopt automatic voter registration, then not only will more citizens be eligible to vote, but more citizens will turn out to vote simply based on the fact that they are registered to vote.



Thank you pro. In this round I will attack a fundamental assumption in the resolution - that democracy is something that we should strive for.

The affirmative is reinforcing the negative idea that democracy is something that should be celebrated and growing in the modern world; they are aiming for a more representative form of democracy and they are entrenching the evils of democracy that exist. They are affirming the notion that everyone ought to have a voice when their voice is not something beneficial to the world.

The impact of reinforcing democracy is devilish at all points that can be considered.

C1. Negative impact on economic growth
Democracy has been found to have a moderate yet negative impact on economic growth because, as Tavares et al finds in 2001 in their paper "How democracy affects growth":
  • "We find that the overall effect of democracy on growth is negative and moderate, confirming results from previous studies. However, our methodology allows us to go beyond previous research and describe what drives this overall result: We found evidence that democracy increases human capital accumulation and decreases physical investment rates. "
Democracies have more human capital at any time than they can use because there is little physical capital investment (for example, factories). This means that more democracy leads to more unemployment and more suffering. As Raphael et al finds in 1998:
  • "In this paper, we show that high unemployment rates are an important factor contributing substantially to both property and violent crime rates. Our findings rely on the fact, that previous studies fail to control for the influence of crime fundamentals, such as alcohol consumption, that vary with the business cycle and thus impart a downward bias to estimates of unemployment effects. Correction for this bias and using proper instruments yields consistent positive effects of unemployment rates on the rates of all seven felony offenses recorded in the UCR. To put the empirical results presented above into perspective, a discussion of recent trends in aggregate crime rates and recent developments in the U.S. labor market may be instructive. Between 1992 and 1996 (the latest year for which aggregate figures are available), the rates of all seven felony offenses decreased, some considerably. For example, over this time period, the rates of robbery and murder decreased by more than 20 percent, rape, auto theft, and burglary declined by more than 15 percent, aggravated assault declined by 12 percent, and larceny declined by slightly more than 4 percent (Department of Justice 1997). Concurrently, after peaking at 7.4 percent in 1992, the civilian unemployment rate declined steadily to 5.4 percent in 1996."
This means that violent crime increases as unemployment does; and in a democracy there is going to be higher unemployment. Increasing the amount of democracy increases violent crime - and that means that democracy leads to lives lost.

Instead of trying to exacerbate democracy and make it more prevalent within the world, we need to restrict it as much as we possibly can. I propose that instead of advocating for democracy, we advocate for monarchy; the polar opposite of all of the people getting the say in the government. There is less crime being committed, and thus, more lives being saved.

In order to save the US, we need to save the peoples' lives - and the only way we can do that is to eliminate democracy at all costs.

Thus, I negate.

Debate Round No. 2


First of all, I must state that this debate is solely concerned with whether or not automatic voter registration should be implemented within a democracy, not whether or not democracy should exist as a political system. Such discussion should be reserved for another debate. With that in mind, here is my main argument.

In comparison to traditional voter registration, automatic voter registration would be able to save time for voters by eliminating the need for any voter to fill out any forms needed to officially register to vote, while at the same time, it would also save the state time by eliminating the need to process any such forms needed to register said voter. This would be accomplished by tying voter registration to existing government databases, such as tax information, employment information, address information, or other information that is not available to the state, but to the federal government, which state governments could easily request. [1] For example, the state already knows where each resident living within it's boundaries resides, and the state already knows the boundaries of its voting precincts, so automatic voter registration would simplify changing a voter's voting precinct by tying it to a voter's change of address. Furthermore, this would allow for a simpler change in state voter registration, where if a voting-age American moves to a different state, that voter's new address would be given to both the voter's previous state of residence, and his or her current state of residence, allowing for simpler additions to the current state's registered voter population, and simpler removal from the previous state's registered voter population. [1]

As for automatically registering new voters, there is plenty of information available to the state that can be used to register those voters. Employment information, for example, is already available to the state since employers have to give an employee's information to the state so taxes can be deducted from that employee's paycheck. Also, states have access to social security information, and each citizen of the United States is given a social security number at birth. States could use this information available to monitor when a resident of the state becomes eligible to vote, and thus is able to be registered. [1]

Now, apart from streamlining the voter registration process, there is another benefit to having automatic voter registration in place, and that benefit is increased voter turnout. as of November 2014, there were approximately 219 million eligible voters in the United States.[2] In the 2014 midterm elections, approximately 92 million of those eligible voters voted in the 2014 elections, constituting a voter turnout of roughly thirty-nine percent of the total voting eligible population.[2] However, when taking into account the number of eligible voters that were registered as of November 2014, which stands at 142 million, or roughly sixty-five percent of the total US voting eligible population, then the voter turnout jumps to sixty-five percent of total registered voters.[2] If all eligible voters in the US were registered to vote, and if they turn out at roughly the same rate as registered voters did in 2014, then there would be an additional fifty million votes counted during that election.

In short, automatic voter registration simplifies voter registration, and manages to boost voter turnout by getting more people registered to vote, allowing for elections to more accurately reflect the total voting eligible population.



Since round 3 is just another round for arguments and not rebuttals, I extend the arguments made in the last round.

My case says that democracy is bad and we should not affirm the resolution. The alternative to advocating for democracy is to advocate for monarchy - attacking the root assumption in the resolution.

Easily negate.
Debate Round No. 3


I must again argue that the concern over whether or not Democracy is necessary is not the focus of this debate. Rather, the focus of this debate is whether or not automatic voter registration should be implemented in a society. As such, arguing over whether or not democracy should be the governing political system in a society is irrelevant. Thus, I extend the arguments I made in Round Two and Round Three.


Pro's arguments have no weights *at all* attatched to them. We can take them at the full value that they are provided and still negate because there is no real-life impact of having higher numbers of voters - that's just a fact.

Having more voters doesn't have any impact on the world - at least, my opponent isn't saying that it does.

Even if you don't buy my case it's obvious you should vote con because pro has no impacts with their arguments.
Debate Round No. 4


Throughout this debate, my opponent has failed to provide any real argument against the concept of automatic voter registration, and has instead chosen to focus on the completely irrelevant topic of whether or not democracy should be the main system of governing a society. The question of automatic voter registration assumes that democracy remains the principle form of governing a society that adopts such a measure. As such, the question of whether or not democracy should be upheld or not has no place in a debate where maintaining democracy is already the presumed outcome of both sides.

Vote Pro


Even if you don't believe what I said (that democracy is bad), you still have to negate becuase pro doesn't prove why automatic voter registration is a good thing. He brings up stats saying that it'd increase voter turnout - okay, but there is no actual impact.

We can accept everything the pro said and just one thing that I've said (anything at all) and still vote con because of pro's lacking arugments.

My argument attacked the notion fundamental in the resolution - democracy is good. My opponent advocated for democracy throughout their arguments, something that should be considered irrelevant because he didn't even rebut what I said, he left it at its full value.

Easily vote con - whether or not you like my argument is irrelevant since pro didn't meet the BoP that was shared.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Lexus 2 years ago
You don't understand what my case was about ... it was a structural kritik of the resolution. Your vote is fine and I didn't report it or anything you just don't understand it.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
Excuse you?
Posted by Lexus 2 years ago
til v5red doesn't know what a (admittedly terrible) k is.
Posted by V5RED 2 years ago
Argument: Pro argues in terms of the practicality and benefits of an automatic registration. He has argued that it would improve turnout and that this would improve the representation of the people. Con has some interesting arguments about the harms of democracy, but that was not the topic of this debate. This debate was about whether or not AVR is a good thing.

Con then relies on showing that democracy is bad to show that anything that assists in improving a democracy must also be bad, but Con never made any arguments addressing how this would be so. Con then advocates for a monarchy, but never gives any arguments showing how this would be an improvement.

Con's gambit would have required a demonstration that democracies with AVR are inferior to monarchies to have even had a position that is relevent to the debate. Once again, the debate was about whether or not AVR is a good thing. Pro argued its merits while con only argued the failings of a democracy. Con claims that her point is that democracy is bad and trying to improve it is a bad idea, but for this to be a sensible position Con needs to show that non democracy is better. Con did not do that.

Con's argument would be like claiming that dogs that are untrained are dangerous, so instead of training the dogs we should switch to cats without trying to show that cats are safer than trained or untrained dogs.

Since only Pro had a sensible case and Pro gave an understanding of how AVR would improve society by giving a voice to those not currently heard, I find Pro's arguments more compelling and relevant to the topic.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by V5RED 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments