Universal Voter Registration
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Register to Vote

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Everyone should have the right to vote in free and fair elections regardless of who they are or where they live. To that end, FairVote advocates for enshrining an affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. In pursuit of that ideal, FairVote works to enact policies at the federal, state, and local levels that are consistent with our conviction that voting is not a privilege, but a right.



Momentum Builds for Universal Registration
Endorsements from Key Allies and Editorial Boards
Since the historic election on November 4, momentum has been steadily building for universal voter registration. Key allies, including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Election Assistance Commission Chair Rosemary Rodriguez, have advocated for establishing a voter registration system where the government, not each individual citizen, is responsible for ensuring full and accurate voter rolls. The voting rights community has put universal voter registration at the top of its legislative agenda and newspaper editorial boards around the country have endorsed such a change. FairVote has been a longtime advocate for universal voter registration, as well as other reforms that can be done at the state level in its spirit, including automatic voter registration and setting a uniform voter registration age of 16-years-old.

[Read more about Universal Voter Registration]

[FairVote's op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution]
[FairVote's State Voter Registration Agenda]
[Boston Globe Endorsement]
[NYTimes article with endorsements from Sen. Clinton & Chair Rodriguez]
[Brennan Center for Justice Proposal]


Universal Voter Registration and a Constitutional Right to Vote
FairVote-backed reforms earns support from key allies
FairVote operates from a simple premise: we must find ways to ensure that all Americans have secure voting rights and every vote should matter. In that spirit, we helped draft HJR 28, a proposal to establish a right to vote in the U.S. Constitution and for years have called for universal voter registration to provide full and accurate voter rolls. Two weighty reform allies have issued important new reports calling for action: the Advancement Project's In Pursuit of an Affirmative Right to Vote examines the need to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to explicitly guarantee that all citizens have a fair, equal, and inclusive voice in our democracy, and the Brennan Center has issued a potential roadmap to universal voter registration.

The Summer 2008 National Civic Review has an article co-authored by FairVote's Rob Richie and David Moon with former intern Usman Ahmed on how cities could boost the effort for a constitutional right to vote.

[Brennan Center's Universal Voter Registration: A Policy Summary]
[Advancement Project's In Pursuit of an Affirmative Right to Vote]
[FairVote on universal voter registration]
[FairVote on a Constitutional Right to Vote]

[Abstract of National Civic Review]
[More on Municipal Right to Vote strategy]

NEW [Commentary on a Right to Vote by FairVote]
NEW [Commentary on a Right to Vote by the Advancement Project]



Florida Governor Signs Uniform Registration Age Bill
Rhode Island Awaits Governorís Signature
On June 5th, Governor Charlie Crist (R-FL) signed SB 866 into law, setting a uniform voter registration age of 16-years-old. Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (“Motor Voter”), citizens can register to vote when they apply for a driver’s license. The new Florida law now allows all eligible drivers to also be eligible to register to vote (and have their registration automatically become active upon reaching voting age). Setting a uniform age of 16 will help streamline the voter registration process by expanding registration opportunities for young people in high school and will give them an opportunity to learn about candidates and issues before they are old enough to vote.

The trend of setting a uniform registration age of 16-years-olds is catching on! Both houses of Rhode Island’s legislature have passed a uniform registration age law and it awaits the governor’s signature. Similar legislation has also been introduced this year in California, Michigan and Maryland.

[FairVote Rhode Island]
[Rob Richie's Blog on RI Wins]


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Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
Mandatory Voting? Automatic Registration? How Un-American!
Huffington Post

President of Air America Media, Mark Green, explains why Instant Runoff Voting, Automatic Registration and Mandatory Voting are not only important but could lead to a more democratic society.

September 30th 2009
Can a 17-year-old register to vote? It depends
Ventura County Star

"Most Californians register to vote not because a political cause has touched their heart, but rather because they checked a box on a form at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they received or renewed their driverís license."

September 27th 2009
Giving teens a civic voice
The Fayetteville Observer

In January, North Carolina will become the third state to implement FairVote-endorsed youth preregistration.

September 8th 2009
Give voters final say on vacancies
Politico

The two legislators proposing a constitutional amendment mandating elections to fill Senate vacancies make their case in the pages of Politico.