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Denying a Basic Right

April 10, 1988

At one time it was illegal for a deputy registrar of voters to name any particular political party during voter registration. Now, in San Diego County, the registrar of voters hires no deputy registrars. "Deputy registrars" are hired by political parties and petition proponents. These "deputy registrars" may openly advertise their party or cause.

Last week, I was startled to see such an advertisement, called the San Diego County registrar of voters and received the above information. The person on the telephone also recommended that if I wanted to register for a different party than the one advertised, I either seek out a registrar advertising my party or go to the Post Office and get the right forms. In other words, some of these very partisan registrars conveniently "forget" to turn in the registrations of those who mistakenly register for the wrong party.

In short, this type of partisanship allows for a total breakdown of the electoral process: i.e., if I'm not registered, I can't vote, and partisan registrars who refuse to register me or "forget" to turn in my registration forms are denying me the most basic of my democratic rights.

MARY ANNE WENTINK

San Diego

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