Voter registration deadlines vary widely between different states. Twelve states currently provide Same Day Registration (SDR) which permits voters to register and cast their ballot on Election Day. North Dakota has no registration requirement whatsoever. However, the majority of states require voters to register to vote prior to Election Day, many as far in advance as one month before the election. These strict and inherently arbitrary voting registration cutoffs appear to substantially limit Election Day turnout. Many eligible citizens become interested in voting during the few weeks before Election Day, when media coverage and campaigning reach their peaks. Furthermore, placing the onus of updating voter registration records on individuals is a burden for voters who move prior to an election.
Today, the Voter Empowerment Act (VEA) was introduced in the House of Representatives. Estelle Rogers, legislative director for Project Vote, issued the following statement in support of this important legislation.
Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and several others introduced the Democracy Restoration Act to “restore voting rights in federal elections to the million Americans who are out of prison and living in the community.” A House companion bill is expected to be introduced soon.
Estelle Rogers, Project Vote’s Legislative Director, applauded the sponsors for reintroducing this common-sense reform to our federal voting laws.
“Study after study has shown that a prisoner’s effective re-entry into society makes all the difference in preventing recidivism. The right to vote and participate in community decisions is an integral part of the re-entry process. Yet, state laws on this subject vary widely, making one’s right to vote dependent upon arbitrary state lines. It just doesn’t make sense,” she said.
As America has become ever more digitally interconnected and additional routine tasks and functions are now being carried out over the internet, the prospect of allowing individuals to register to vote online has become increasingly desirable. Online voter registration provides a cost effective, secure, and convenient avenue for many citizens to register to vote and to update their voter registration information. Twenty states permit online voter registration by law or administrative rule and policies in five more states are pending implementation.
Wonderful as the idea of a 50th anniversary weekend commemorating Bloody Sunday seemed, the risk was that it would only be a look backward. Connections needed to be made with what is going on now, and they were. It was thrilling to be there, to take a long view back and remember the sacrifices of so many, sung and unsung. But Selma is a story of before and after—and now.