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Voting Rights, Voter Registration, National Voter Archive

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Election 2008: Restoring American Civic Participation

by Michael P. McDonald
At 61.6 percent, the 2008 presidential election voter turnout was the highest in 40 years, even though it did not exceed the highest rate in the last century (63.8 percent in 1960). Interestingly, turnout increased considerably in some states and was actually down from 2004 in others. This article looks at certain state voter demographics and battleground shifts as well as election reform developments that might have affected voter turnout in different states.

Compliance with the NVRA: Not Optional

by Michael Slater
The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires states to offer voter registration opportunities at public assistance agencies. Voter registrations at such agencies numbered 2.6 million in l995–96 when the Act was first implemented; the number has dwindled to 528,000 in 2005–06. One simple reason for this drop: A majority of states are failing to comply with the law. Compliance with the NVRA could help up to 2.5 million additional low-income Americans register to vote.

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New Barriers to Voting: Eroding the Right to Vote

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.

Election 2004 and HAVA: What Next?

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.

Safeguarding Your Vote

by Kelly Ceballos
As part of its continuing effort to assist state and local election officials in their implementation concerns related to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the League of Women Voters has produced a second report, Helping America Vote: Safeguarding the Vote. This new report urges election officials to safeguard our votes in 2004 by providing a more secure foundation for two key components of election administration: voting systems and voter registration systems. As Election Day nears, there are real steps that our nation’s election officials can take to protect our votes in November.

Election Day and You: 5 Things You Need to Know

by Kelly Ceballos
Well in advance of November 2, the League of Women Voters has launched a nationwide voter education effort, 5 Things You Need to Know on Election Day, to familiarize voters with new election procedures and empower them to take action to personally ensure their vote is counted. To this end, the League has produced a quarter million 5 Things voter cards that are being distributed across the country. This year many voters will find some things different at their polling place, and these changes will make some of them feel like first-time voters. The League’s 5 Things gives long-time and first-time voters the information they need to look out for themselves and their votes on Election Day.