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.



FairVote Protects Youth Voting Rights in Maryland
Acts to restore 17-year-old primary voting, promote registration
Sparked by the story of 17-year-old Sarah Boltuck, a Maryland teenager on the verge of losing her right to vote in the 2008 primary elections, FairVote worked closely with state allies like Sen. Jamie Raskin in winning a dramatic reversal to protect youth voting rights. All 17-year-old citizens who will 18 by Election Day in November 2008 will be able to vote in Maryland's Feb. 12 primary -- a ruling  affecting thousands of voters. FairVote is launching a campaign with other civic groups and the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals to notify eligible students of the registration deadline in the spirit of our vision of universal voter registration.

[ The Washington Post ]
[ Baltimore Sun - 12/20 ]
[ Baltimore Sun - 12/21 ]
[ FairVote's Learning Democracy Voting Curriculum ]
Additional Links: http://www.fairvote.org/md17



Senate Minority Blocks D.C. Voting Rights
Obstructionists keep nearly 600,000 citizens disenfranchised
The Republican minority blocked the U.S. Senate from taking up the D.C. Voting Rights Act of 2007, a historic bill that would have given full voting rights to the citizens of Washington, D.C. Fifty-seven senators voted to end debate and take action on the bill, but fell just short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster organized by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip Trent Lott of Mississippi. This marks the first time Senators have filibustered a voting rights bill since the era of Jim Crow.

The D.C. Voting Rights Act of 2007 was the closest the District has come in nearly 30 years to gaining full voting rights in the U.S. House. Their lone representative, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, may speak for or against legislation but not vote on the House floor. The bill attracted bi-partisan support, with all but one Democrat and 8 Republicans voting in favor of cloture. FairVote partner, D.C. Vote, will continue to take the lead in securing a vote for the citizens of the District of Columbia.

The D.C. Voting Rights Act of 2007 overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives in April, 241-177.

[ Visit our friends at D.C. Vote ]
[ Cartoon from Politico.com ]
[ Washington Post Editorial ]
[ Learn more about D.C. Voting Rights ]



FairVote-Endorsed Civics Bill Passes
New CA Measure Will Increase Accountability
The California General Assembly passed a FairVote-endorsed bill (AB 183) that requires every school district with at least one high school provide voter registration information to students. Under the new law, if signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, schools must report their voter registration efforts on their website or school newsletter. Current California law designates the final two weeks in April and September as "High School Voter Weeks," during which time deputy registrars of voters are allowed to go into high schools and register students and staff. This new proposal will ensure all students, regardless of where they attend school, have an opportunity to register to vote in the non-partisan atmosphere of a classroom.

The original version of the bill, introduced by Assembly Member Coto, mandated that students register to vote (or opt-out in writing) as a graduation requirement.

[ AB 183 - As introduced 1/24/07 ]

[ AB 183 - As amended 6/1/07 ]
[ FairVote's letter of support ]
[ Pending proposals and enacted laws for 100% Registration]



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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.