LWV Joins Forces to Bring Voter Registration Opportunities to Low-Income Arizonans
by Project Vote, Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 07:59:10 PM EDT
Earlier this year, the League of Women Voters and Project Vote teamed up to find that, despite intervention from the Justice Department in 2008, the state Department of Economic Security (DES) was still not doing everything it should to follow the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). In response to our findings, we gathered a coalition of support in hopes of urging the state to continue taking the necessary steps to increase their levels of compliance with a law that has helped many underrepresented, low-income Arizonan communities cast their vote of Election Day.
On September 16, we had that support when the League of Women Voters of the United States president, Elisabeth MacNamara hand-delivered a letter signed by a coalition of 20 voting rights advocates,* voicing their support for the NVRA and requesting that the Arizona DES continue to increase and improve its efforts to maintain full compliance with this very important voting rights law.
Other states that may set an example in NVRA compliance include Ohio, where voter registration cards collected at public assistance agencies continue to rise as a result of Project Vote's successful lawsuit against the Ohio secretary of state and Department of Job and Family Services for noncompliance with the NVRA. The state's public assistance agency reported 18,370 voter registration applications were submitted in in the month of August alone, following more than 100,000 registrations collected in the first six months of 2010.
In a letter to all of the signees, LWV of Arizona first vice president, Dr. Barbara Klein, wrote that the coalition represents "a cross section of different types of groups in different parts of Arizona who wish to encourage greater compliance by DES with the National Voter Registration Act." Dr. Klein noted that the meeting between the LWV and the DES was "cordial and productive. DES was interested and willing to make improvements where possible...”
Dr. Klein ended the letter by stating that our work is not finished and that “further efforts to protect the right of all voters will continue.”
*Voting rights advocates that signed the letter to the Arizona DES include: The League of Women Voters of Arizona, Project Vote, Old Pueblo Community Services, CODAC Behavioral Health Services, The Primavera Foundation, New Horizons Independent Living Center, Federated Community Church, The Giving Tree Outreach Program, Borderland Food Bank, Prescott Area Women’s Shelter, Coalition for Compassion & Justice, Arizona PIRG, Northland Cares, Arizona Advocacy Network, Flagstaff Shelter Services, Somos America/We Are America Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Just Vote Arizona Disability Coalition, Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council, and the Cornucopia Community Advocates.