by Shirley Tabata Ponomareff and Jeanette Senecal
In 2004, 2000 and 1996, 27.9 percent, 30.5 percent and 29.1 percent of eligible voters were not registered to vote. If these eligible voters were registered to vote, would they turn out to vote at the 80–90 percent rate at which registered voters did go to the polls in the past three presidential elections? They probably would. This means 44–49 million more people would have voted in 2004. Let’s get them registered in 2008! This article contains tips for organizing League-sponsored voter registration drives.
by Mary G. Wilson
During the six weeks prior to the November 2006 election, LWVUS President Mary Wilson traveled to six states to visit and work with Leagues carrying out our Public Advocacy for Voter Protection project. She met with elections officials, the media, League members and the general public to champion the importance of voting, voters’ rights and everything related to the voting process. She learned a lot and recounts some of her experiences and lessons learned.
by Mike Slater, Laura Kyser, and Jo-Anne Chasnow
While countless citizens nationwide are working to engage their neighbors in democracy, many states have developed laws, rules or procedures that limit access to the ballot box. In some states, the new developments are restrictions on voter registration activities, while in others, they are voter ID requirements. Many states have chosen to implement the statewide database requirement of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in ways that make it harder for eligible applicants to register. Together, these new requirements disproportionately impact those citizens who have been historically marginalized in the political process.
The League’s March 2005 forum highlighted a number of urgent priorities for policymakers, election officials and others. The League has refined the priorities into four key steps to bring our election system back to health: professionalization of the system; a new focus on service for the “customer,” the voter; 21st century research and development; and new federal resources and commitment.
by Shirley Tabata Ponomareff
Long lines and long waits were the big news for Election 2004. A number of factors are being examined as likely causes for the long lines. Whatever the causes, the long waits posed an unacceptable barrier to citizen participation. Voter mobilization and voter protection made huge contributions, and voter participation was high. Nevertheless, voters encountered serious problems with voter registration systems, provisional ballots, voting machines and inadequate polling place procedures. This story includes sidebars on the youth vote, election protection efforts, pre-election HAVA implementation survey and Election Day surveys.