On May 11 in Dearborn, Michigan, the U.S. welcomed a new cohort of citizens into the American family. Representatives from the Secretary of State's office staffed an on-site voter registration table, allowing newly naturalized citizens to register following the ceremony.
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said "I encourage [Michigan's newest citizens] to take a few moments to register to vote so that they can exercise their right to vote and have their voice be heard at the ballot box."
Nonprofit VOTE and our partners have participated in organization-sponsored efforts to register new citizens following naturalization ceremonies, but it is particularly heartening to see Michigan's top election official proactively registering eligible voters after citizenship ceremonies!
These ceremonies are a natural venue for voter registration outreach because they gather together a group of newly eligible--but unregistered--citizens ripe for the registering. In addition to having volunteers or staff on-site to register voters, organizers should also include a voter registration form in the paperwork packet each new citizen receives so that no eligible voter is overlooked and everyone has the opportunity to participate.
Great job Michigan, we hope other states follow your lead on this!
(The photograph was taken during a September 2010 naturalization ceremony at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.)