How Detroit's High Insurance Rates Limit Voting
March 21st, 2013, 9:31 AM
Detroiters say that high auto insurance rates drive them to hide their Detroit residence, thereby disenfranchising themselves in local elections, Nancy Derringer writes. A Bridge analysis of six Detroit high-rises shows surprisingly low voter participation rates.
Vince Keenan, founder of Publius.org, a Michigan voter-education and civic-participation program, says the link between insurance rates and one’s registered address is “the most well-known single fact” about voting in Detroit. And he doesn’t like it.
“It’s an unintended consequence of Motor Voter,” he said, or the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which tied voter registration to one’s driver’s license. “It was very successful at getting people registered, especially in Michigan, because we drive so much. But by marrying the two, we have to think about (the auto-insurance issue), and we shouldn’t have to. For a voter to have to worry about where their car insurance is, is stupid. We’ve made it easier to commit community fraud, where you’re living and working in a community that you’re not voting in, than to commit insurance fraud.”