Monday, December 29, 2008

Nov. 4th Brings Universal Voter Registration to Election Reform Forefront - Memo From George Pillsbury, NVEN


  • An estimated three million were turned away or forced to vote provisionally due to a registration problem on Election Day
  • Only 70-75% of US eligible voters are registered. That is the lowest registration rate by far among advanced democracies, almost all of which use a form of automatic voter registration. Even in Iraq registration is not a barrier as voters can fix a registration problem on Election Day and vote
  • 2008 saw many registration problems. On one hand 3rd party nonprofits over zealously turned in duplicate or flawed registrations. On the other, partisan election officials attempted to illegally drop tens of thousands from voter rolls in Colorado, Detroit and other jurisdictions.

Voter registration is necessary to track voters but has no place as a barrier for any eligible citizen to participate in their democracy and vote.

-George Pillsbury, December 2008

George Pillsbury is the Policy and Development Director of the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network

To learn more about Universal Voter Registration, read the Brennan Center's recent overview of Universal Voter Registration.

New Reports: November 2008

Nonprofits and Nov. 4th: Coalition Building

70 volunteers and employees of Meriden-based Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut stood outside polls Nov. 4th in an attempt to recruit activists for universal health care. "We're targeting people who are engaged, who want to have an effect on policies and issues," said Janet Davenport, a spokeswoman for the nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation. Read more

Nonprofits and Nov. 4th: Creating Future Voters

Across the country, nonprofits like Kids Voting helped children participate as well as they learned about the democracy process in their social studies classes and cast votes in statewide elections at their schools, setting the stage for future participation. Read about an Arizona school district's experience.

EDR States Lead the Nation

In 2008, the 9 states that allow voters to fix a registration problem or register while voting had voter turnout 9 points above the others.

Election Day or same day registration successfully debuted in Iowa and North Carolina. Iowa let voters fix registration issues on Election Day, North Carolina's one-stop voting let voters register and vote at the same time during a 16 day early voting period.

Census 2010 is Hiring

The 2010 U.S. Census is hiring at its regional and local office across the country. The census plays a crucial role for nonprofits and the communities they serve; data are used to distribute congressional seats to states, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $300 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments. To learn more about jobs with Census 2010, visit their jobs site.

Nonprofits and Nov. 4th: Monitoring the Vote

Thanks to tools like the Election Protection Coalition's hotline and website , Twitter's Vote Report, Harvard's and YouTube's Video Your Vote campaign, voters were able to take their complaints to the Internet this year to make November 4th the most documented election in American history. Read more.