Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 | 4:32 p.m.
When I asked recently if Sen. Dean Heller was in favor of allowing voters to register the day of the GOP presidential caucus, his spokesman, Stewart Bybee, responded with alacrity:
“Because the presidential caucus is paid for by the party, Senator Heller supports same day registration to bolster GOP registration numbers like the Democrats did in 2008. However, he does not support same day registration for primary and general elections.”
That is now. This was then – as in 2003:
Heller, as a then-progressive secretary of state before his near-death experience at the hands of Sharron Angle in his first congressional race in 2006, actually proposed and advocated in the Legislative Building during the 2003 session for same-day registration for elections.
The bill: SB 453, as you can
see,was introduced on his behalf.
And in an Assembly hearing, Heller could not have been more enthusiastic, as the records reflect:
----“One of the other recommendations that are coming forward is that they want a goal here in the state of Nevada of 75 percent of all eligible voters to be registered and 70 percent of them to vote by 2008. That’s a far cry from where we are today. We’ve got to move this thing quite a way. I have a couple of bills that I have presented to this Legislature that I think will go a long way in that direction. Election Day registration is one of them.”
----“On Friday, there will be a hearing in the Senate committee on the Election Day registration (EDR) bill. I think that’s one step of moving in the right direction. Those states that have EDR have registration and voter participation level of 15 to 20 percent higher than ours. They are doing something right in those states.”
----“ I have the responsibility to raise their registration level to 75 percent and their participation to 70 percent, please give me the authority to do so. I don’t mind having the responsibility as long as I have the authority to move in that direction. I think…. EDR is a bold step in that direction. If we’re going to make those advances and changes to meet those levels, we’re going to have to make some critical and substantial changes in the way we handle elections in this state. That’s why we come before you to present this legislation.”
The provision eventually was amended out of the omnibus election bill.
So why the change of heart?
Spokesman Bybee: “Politics today have become much more partisan than they were 10 years ago. In light of ACORN's and similar organization's activities, Senator Heller's views on the topic have evolved.”
Evolved! ACORN! Should have seen that coming.
To his credit, Heller is taking the sane position on same-day registration for the caucus. But his "evolution" on this issue mirrors his “evolution” from independent-minded secretary of state to super-conservative Republican in Washington.