The documentary "Un-Natural State" looks at the denial of democracy in our nation’s capital and how DC citizens are directly affected by this injustice. The video won the prize for Best Editing in the 2006 International Documentary Challenge, and debuted on Thursday, August 31, 2006, at AFI in Silver Spring, MD. Please feel free to download this video and distribute it to schools, universities or media in your area to help educate your community about DC citizens’ lack of voting rights. (The total running time is 8:52 minutes.)
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.
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.
by Michael Slater
Taking a hard look at the politics of voter fraud, this article provides evidence that we are the victims of an organized effort to persuade us that voter fraud is a serious problem. We are advised to ask some tough questions. What’s the evidence? Who’s making the claim? What’s their agenda?
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 Wade Henderson
This year Congress is debating reauthorization of the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), widely considered the most effective civil rights law in American history for its ability to protect the right to vote of all Americans. When passed in 1965, the VRA put teeth into the 15th Amendment’s guarantee that no citizen can be denied the right to vote because of the color of their skin. Nonetheless, there is no question that barriers to equal minority voter participation continue to exist today, making VRA reauthorization imperative.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Bob Guldin
Thanks to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), many of the weaknesses in the U.S. electoral system revealed in the 2000 Presidential Election are being addressed. The Provisional Voting section of HAVA is one of the first parts of the law to be implemented and institutes provisional balloting as a nationwide right and practice as of January 1, 2004. If a person shows up at the polls on Election Day anywhere in the U.S. and claims to be eligible to vote, that person will be permitted to vote. With 50 states and thousands of local jurisdictions, it’s difficult to guarantee that this important voting right will be observed properly in all places.