Justice Department Stands Behind Voter Registration Law

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters

By Steven Rosenfeld

Modernizing voter registration services has been a big theme in policy and government circles since the 2008 presidential election.  But a new effort by the Department of Justice to better implement a 20th century voting rights law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA)—known as the motor voter bill—could make equally big waves, potentially adding millions of voters to official lists.

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Election Day Preparations Reach New Heights, but Will Voters Turn Out?

If there is a checklist for Election Day preparations, policy makers, candidates, and voter registration advocates have covered many bases for 2010: state legislation has moved to improve (or sometimes impede) voting rights; voter registration drives are technologically advancing; and campaign spending is reaching record heights. But, a major component of elections—voter outreach and voter turnout—remains to be seen. If 2008 turnout is an indicator for voter participation in the upcoming major elections, would this be an opportunity for the electorate to finally close its representational gaps?

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Vote by Mail Spreads, But Doesn’t Help All Voters

Some progressives overlook that voting by mail does not always help their longtime constituents.

As state and county officials look for ways to streamline elections during tough budgetary times, many jurisdictions are increasingly relying on mail-based voting—and winning praises from progressives for doing so.  But the true litmus test for any election reform should be whether it helps expand the franchise to those whose voices are missing in our democracy. What some groups may overlook in their enthusiasm about voting by mail is that it does not always serve underrepresented or vulnerable populations as well as traditional polls.

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Wanted: Voters’ Views on Changing Government

What do voters really think about dramatic changes already underway?

by Steven Rosenfeld

Today’s political chattering class—television barkers, talk radio hotheads, and even 2010’s most visible candidates—keep telling Americans how angry and flustered we have become, and that the solution has to do with reeling in a government run amok.

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Texas Automates Voter Registration at the Driver License Offices

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters Another big state has taken steps to modernize voter registration at its motor vehicle offices. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees state driver licenses and identification cards, has instituted a new system that simplifies the voter registration process.

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Immigration Hysteria May Affect Voting Rights in Tennessee

A disturbing and growing hysteria over immigration—most evident in Arizona’s horrifyingly oppressive new law—has now spread into election administration legislation in at least one state. On the same day that the Maine Republican Party adopted a blatantly xenophobic Tea Party platform, the Tennessee Senate injected anti-immigrant sentiment into a draconian bill to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

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Maine Tea Bag Activists Gain Power, Target Voting Rights

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters

"As Maine goes, so goes the nation." Let us hope the original bellwether state is no longer an accurate indicator of where American politics are heading, or we’re all in serious trouble. Yesterday the Maine Republican Party officially—and overwhelmingly—scrapped their near century-old platform in favor of a Tea Party wish-list that Maine Politics calls "a mix of right-wing fringe policies, libertarian buzzwords and outright conspiracy theories." (The full platform is available at the Washington Post site here.)

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Mo.Voter ID Debate is Down to the Wire: Early Voting Provision Rejected by Advocates

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters

The Missouri legislature is once again pushing a controversial measure to combat a mythical problem in the state—registration and voter fraud. The costly measure that critics say is "based on a lie and emotional fear" would essentially amend the state constitution to enact a 2006 photo voter ID law that was declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.  In the last days of the legislative session, tension mounts over the potential to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters to prevent a crime that has never occurred in the state.

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Complying with the NVRA: States Learn that Voter Registration through Public Agencies Works

Cross-Posted to Project Vote's blog,Voting Matters

After 15 years of declining compliance, several states are being brought into line with the National Voter Registration Act, a key federal election law that could help hundreds of thousands of citizens register to vote every year. Though some states are coming around due to lawsuits filed by voting rights organizations, others are voluntarily beginning to adhere to the NVRA. This week Project Vote released two new publications that explain what states are doing wrong and offer best practices for improvement.

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Gov. O’Malley Urged to Sign Bill to Provide Preregistration to Teen Citizens

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters

Last week, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill to allow 16-year olds to preregister to vote. If signed by the governor, Maryland will join Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Rhode Island in enacting this important reform.

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