NEW YORK -- In a new analysis released today, national policy center Demos announced a major milestone in its work to build a more inclusive democracy: Across five states, more than one million additional low-income Americans, the most vulnerable of “the 99%”, have filled out voter registration forms at public assistance agencies since 2007.
Read the findings are published in an impact brief, “1 Million New Voters Among The 99%,” http://bit.ly/uSo6e7
Through litigation and cooperative efforts Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Illinois, Demos and its partners -- Project Vote and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law -- have helped improve agency procedures and personnel training, yielding dramatic increases in voter registration applications. This success reflects Demos’ deep commitment to ensuring states fully implement the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) -- and specifically “Section 7,” which covers often-neglected public agency voter registration requirements.
Key highlights from the brief include:
*In Missouri, registration application submission rates increased over 1450 percent after Demos’ intervention, from an average of 649 per month in 2005-2006 to 10,116 in the last two years. Since implementation in that state, more than 342,297 new low-income voters have been registered at public assistance agencies.
*In Ohio, an additional 289,115 low-income Americans filled out registration forms after Demos’ reform efforts.
*In North Carolina, almost 130,000 additional low-income citizens have applied to register to vote through the state’s public assistance agencies since the State Board of Elections worked cooperatively with Demos and other to improve NVRA compliance. It is a five-fold increase over the state’s previous performance.
“While full implementation of the NVRA has been an essential tool for bringing low-income voters’ voices into our democracy for more than fifteen years, it has never been more important than today, as the Great Recession forces more and more Americans to public assistance agencies,” said Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and former Secretary of the State of Connecticut. “We are proud to have helped add more than one million low- and middle income Americans to the voter rolls. These voters have been deeply affected by long-term inequality and their voices are essential to finding the best solutions to today’s urgent challenges. If the promise of the NVRA were fulfilled in every state, America would be millions of voices closer to the democracy that we deserve.”