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Project Vote
Election Legislation Threats and Opportunities Update E-mail
As part of Project Vote's ongoing effort to keep you informed about the changing landscape of election legislation, we are pleased to provide the second installment this year in our ongoing Election Legislation Threats and Opportunities series. 
Unfortunately, in 2011, it has become clear that most of the energy is being spent by partisan forces intent on passing restrictive voting laws designed to significantly reduce turnout in the 2012 election. While there have been some beneficial legislation passed—and an encouraging public outcry against voter ID and other restrictive measures in many states—the story so far is of a legislative onslaught designed to make it harder for Americans to vote. 
Project Vote Communications Manager Erin Ferns Lee has been monitoring election legislation in all 50 states and the U.S. Congress. In this new memo, Erin provides a comprehensive analysis of recent election legislation successes and failures, and provides insight into what we can expect in 2012. 
You can download this new memo here.
Federal Judge Rules that Lawsuit against the State of Louisiana Over Failure to Offer Voter Registration Services May Continue E-mail

July 21, 2011

(New Orleans, LA) – Today, a federal court rejected the State of Louisiana's effort to dismiss a lawsuit regarding the State’s failure to offer public assistance recipients the opportunity to register vote.  The court’s ruling means that public assistance clients and the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP can proceed with a lawsuit claiming that the Louisiana Secretary of State, the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Department of Health & Hospitals are disenfranchising minority and low-income voters by failing to offer them the opportunity to register to vote as required by the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

“The State must be held accountable for its continuing violations of federal law, so that all Louisiana citizens have an opportunity to vote,” said Dale Ho, Assistant Counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs along with Project Vote, a Washington D.C.-based voting rights organization, and New Orleans attorney Ronald Wilson.

The NVRA requires public assistance agencies, such as food stamps and Medicaid offices, to offer their clients the opportunity to register to vote with every application for benefits, renewal, recertification, or change of address transaction. The plaintiffs’ complaint cites evidence showing that Louisiana agencies are failing to carry out their responsibilities under this law.

New EAC Report Shows Increased Voter Registration Among Low-Income Americans E-mail
NVRA Enforcement Efforts Deliver Results, According To New Analysis

July 13, 2011

NEW YORK—A newly released review of a June 27 report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) shows that voter registration application rates at state public assistance agencies have risen sharply following National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) enforcement actions by advocacy groups Demos, Project Vote, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and others. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of states not targeted have continued to see a long decline in registration of lower-income residents.

The EAC report covers voter registration that occurred between the November 2008 and November 2010 elections.

"The new data underscore the effectiveness of enforcement in giving low income Americans a voice in the democratic process," said Lisa Danetz, Senior Counsel at Demos and co-lead counsel in a settled lawsuit against Ohio. "For example, Ohio topped the EAC list for voter registration at public assistance offices.  As a result of our lawsuit, the state institutionalized procedures to offer voter registration. Those procedures will ensure that voter registration does not fall off the radar screen.” 

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