It is crucial to stop and recognize these accomplishments because they serve the conclusion of years of advocacy construction by our party leaders, elected officials, and core components:
California, Connecticut, Oregon, West Virginia and Vermont adopted laws automatically registering voters when they get a driver’s license and enabling them to opt-out if they want. Oregon registered over 250,000 voters in 2016 and 42% of those were automatically registered. California by itself may automatically register up to 7 million residents – almost equal to all the votes cast in New York in November 2016.
Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Utah, and Vermont established same-day registration – permitting voters to both register and vote at the same time.
Online Voter Registration:
Florida, DC, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania established online voter registration. As of June 2016, 31 states now allow online voter registration and another 7 have established laws allowing online voter registration.
Modernized Motor Voter:
California sent voter registration requests to nearly 3.8 million people who had applied for health insurance within the state’s healthcare exchange.
Expanded Early Voting:
Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland and Utah all each conducted, proposed or extended early voting.
New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Virginia joined the list of acceptable forms of identification when voting or contrarily made their voter ID law less opposed.
The 2016 election was the first in in 50 years without the full security of the Voting Rights Act, and 14 states had brand new voting limitations put in place for this presidential election. Republicans established laws excluding same-day registration, decreasing early voting periods, excluding pre-registration, not counting special provisional ballots, and imposing a new voter ID law in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
These laws have a real impact on our election results, and disproportionately affect women, communities of different races, young people, the elderly, low-income people, and disabled citizens, as well as military members and military veterans.
We saw this in Wisconsin, where as many as 300,000 voters didn’t have the photo ID that was needed to vote. The perimeter of victory in Wisconsin was only about 23,000 votes. We saw this again in North Carolina, where there were 158 fewer early voting places in 40 counties with large African-American residents — African American production in North Carolina was down 16% from 2012.
As Republican politicians try to make it difficult to vote, Democrats are striving to expand access to the polls. Whether we are hitting the streets personally to enroll voters, interlocking with local election officials, establishing commonsense laws, or taking our fights on discriminatory voting laws to court, we won't stop fighting to promote a system of elections that is available, accessible, and fair.