Universal Voter Registration
 Municipal Right to Vote
 
 
 
 
 

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.



Big Win for Voter Pre-registration in CA
Advances in MA and RI
On October 11, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a voter pre-registration measure spearheaded this year by the New America Foundation and backed by FairVote, Common Cause, Californians for Electoral Reform and many others. It establishes that all Californians turning 17 can register to vote. Voter pre-registration measures allowing 16-year-olds to pre-register have also become law in recent years in North Carolina and Florida. A member of the Massachusetts statehouse leadership announced last week that a similar measure is her top priority in coming weeks, and the Washington, D.C. City Council last week unanimously backed pre-registration legislation.

FairVote's work pushing pre-registration since 2005 is also making a big difference in Rhode Island, where a major canvassing effort (the “Make it Happen” campaign) is underway in support of pre-registration. A Pew Charitable Trusts research team currently is examining the impact of pre-registration on FairVote's goal of universal registration of all soon-to-be-eligible voters, ideally twinned with civic programs explaining voting mechanics and the history of suffrage.



DC Council Unanimously Approves FairVote-Backed Reform Bill
The Washington D.C. City Council unanimously approved the Omnibus Election Reform Act of 2009 on October 6. If given final approval at the council’s next meeting, this landmark piece of legislation will usher in a wave of significant improvements to the District’s voting and registration rules to bring more residents into the political process, and will commission a study of automatic voter registration for all eligible voters.

The bill includes other FairVote-backed reforms like pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds, primary voting for 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election, and provisions for early voting and Election Day registration, all of which are measures outlined by FairVote’ testimony before the council and in an op-ed by FairVote’s Adam Fogel in the Washington Post.

Links

•    Adam Fogel testimony
•    Rob Richie testimony
•    Adam Fogel Washington Post op-ed: Making the District More of a Democracy
•    The Post's report on the election reform bill.



North Carolina Adopts Youth Preregistration
New law includes high school civics standards
North Carolina governor Bev Perdue signed H.B. 908, an election reform bill that includes the FairVote-endorsed policy of youth preregistration and improved opportunities for voter registration in high schools. Following Hawaii and Florida, North Carolina becomes the third state to set a uniform voter registration age of 16-years-old. The bill passed the House and the Senate by votes of 107-6 and 32-3, respectively.

The new law takes effect January 1, 2010 and allows 16 and 17-year-olds to "preregister" to vote, including a provision requiring schools to provide voter registration opportunities to students in public schools every year. The bill also encourages schools to expand voter registration in schools by working with local boards of election. Youth preregistration bills have been introduced in several other states this year, including Arizona (HB 2384), California (AB 30), Kansas (HB 2256), Maryland (SB 671), Michigan (SB 61), Rhode Island (SB 5005), Washington (HB 1193) and the District of Columbia (Bill 18-345). 

[Bill Information: HB 908]
[FairVote North Carolina Registration and Education Project]
[Youth Preregistration Fact Sheet]
[FairVote Ally Democracy NC]



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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.