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12/5 conference call on universal voter registration

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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-03-08 12:03 AM
Original message
12/5 conference call on universal voter registration
WHAT: Call for legislators and advocates to discuss strategies for replacing our current voter-initiated registration procedures with systems designed to register every eligible voter. Hear from the leading advocates and a legislator about the goals, plans and successes of this growing movement.

WHO: Senator-elect Diane Rosenbaum, Oregon Senate
Wendy Weiser, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice
Rob Richie, Director of FairVote
Christian Smith-Socaris, Election Reform Policy Specialist at PSN

WHEN: 1pm EST, Friday December 5, 2008
DIAL-IN: (800) 391-1709, Login Code 709424

The elections of 2008 served as a critical test of the nation's election systems. With changes in voting machines and procedures, coupled with expectations of record voter turnout, election administrators held their breath and hoped their system wouldn't fail.

While the system didn't fail, voters faced serious obstacles in exercising their right to vote. Voter registration ended up being the problem that effected the largest number of voters. Even before the first votes were cast, it was apparent that our voter registration systems were woefully inadequate. While in other nations 90% or more of the eligible voter population is registered to vote, in the United States less than 75% of eligible voters are registered.

We can do better.

The lack of registered voters was not the only aspect of our voter-initiated registration systems that drew notice this year. The right-wing tried to divert blame for faulty registration procedures onto groups working to register low-income and minority voters, particularly promoting attacks on the community group ACORN, instead of recognizing that the problem was in the heavy barriers to people registering to vote in the first place.

Recognizing the significant challenges to voter registration from mismanagement and suppression, and seeking a new level of security for the right to vote, momentum is developing for a comprehensive solution - universal voter registration. As this Dispatch outlines, under a system of universal registration, government would take primary responsibility for registering all voters.

The United States stands apart among advanced democracies for the onerous nature of its current voter registration laws and practices. These laws and practices by nature restrict voter registration and have been easily manipulated by political actors to be even more restrictive than intended. Many election reform advocates, state legislators, and election law scholars believe now is the time to move forward deliberately toward universal registration and in turn cut the Gordian knot of voter suppression and partisan skirmishing that has been wound by the current system. Progressive States Network will be working with advocates to help move forward this new initiative for universal registration in states across the country.

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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-03-08 12:14 AM
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1. I think every U.S. citizen should be automatically registered at age 18.
And that registration requirements should be uniform across the country. Creating a central, federal department to administer registrations makes perfect sense.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:40 AM
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2. Did anyone call and take notes, maybe?
I had a brain fart and called in at 11AM PST instead of 10AM like I should have.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-10-09 08:12 PM
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3. Follow-up to Universal Voter Registration Conference Call

Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone who was our call last month on universal voter registration. (If you missed the call, you can listen to a recording of it here.)

Interest in universal registration is growing by the day and was also a major focus at the Pew Center on the States' December conference on election reform (read about it here).

Our call last month has generated a lot of interest from legislators and advocates. One of the suggestions that I've received is for PSN to start a UVR listserve to help people interested in the issue exchange information. If other people agree that would be helpful let me know and I'll try to set it up. Any other suggestions for how PSN can help support collective efforts on UVR are welcome as well.

All of the resources mentioned on the call along with other info and breaking news is available on PSN's website at our universal voter registration page. If you want to get in touch with any of our panelists their contact info and links to their websites follow:

Wendy Weiser, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU 212.998.6730
Rob Richie, FairVote 301.270.4616
Brenda Wright, Demos 212.633.1405
Beth Fraser, MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's Office 651.215.0682
Senator-elect Diane Rosenbaum of Oregon 503.231.9970
If you would like additional information on these and other election reform issues, I encourage you to contact the speakers directly or contact me at csmith-socaris {at} or (212) 680-3116 ext. 111.


Christian Smith-Socaris
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