Sunday, April 22, 2007

Support Same-Day Voter Registration

Making it easier to vote in North Carolina is not only the right thing to do for Democracy, it also happens to be a good thing for Democrats.

State House and Senate bills that would permit same-day registration and voting during the early-voting window are sailing along. House Bill 91 passed the third reading in the House late last month, by a vote of 66 to 45, with all Democrats in support. Now the companion Senate Bill 195 is being considered on the Senate side.

In a letter to all Democratic State Senators last week, NC Democratic Chair Jerry Meek urged support, saying:
From Woodrow Wilson's signing of the Women's Suffrage Act, to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, Democrats have always fought to expand suffrage rights and to make voting easier and more accessible.
Same day voter registration was also unanimously endorsed by the delegates to the 2006 North Carolina Democratic convention. Members of the Young Democrats of North Carolina lobbied their legislators in Raleigh to rally additional support.

In addition to making Democracy more accessible in general, same day registration is likely to increase the turnout of younger voters (aged 18 to 35). Some voters in this age group "tune in" to election issues later than other voters, and many in past elections have been turned away because they did not register before the 25-days-before-the-election deadline. These new laws will make it possible for them to both register and vote during the early voting period (up to three days before election day).

Younger voters tend to skew heavily Democratic in their voting choices.

As Jerry Meek also pointed out:
It is also likely that same day registrants would disproportionately reflect racial and ethnic minorities and voters from lower socio-economic strata, all of whom are more likely to vote Democratic.
On their own, these bills are unlikely to turn North Carolina from red to blue, but they're a big step to moving North Carolina off the bottom rung of states in terms of voter turnout percentage.

Please urge your State Senator to support Senate Bill 195.

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