Despite recent upticks in voter participation, a significant portion of the electorate, concentrated in low-income and minority communities, is still alienated from the electoral process. This weakens our democracy by excluding from major public policy decisions the voices of the most vulnerable and least powerful. Project Vote knows that strong democracy needs active participation from all sectors of society, and works hard to engage low-income and minority voters in the civic process.
Since 1994 Project Vote has developed state-of-the-art voter registration and Get-Out-the-Vote programs, and has helped register more than 5.6 million Americans in low-income and minority communities. Project Vote has also achieved a nationwide presence through long-term relationships with service and advocacy partners, and takes a leadership role in nationwide election administration issues, working through research, legal services, and advocacy to ensure that our constituencies are not prevented from registering and voting.
Voter participation by historically underrepresented constituencies--including very low-income Americans, Americans of color, and particularly young minority voters--increased in 2008. However, the fact remains that voter turnout is consistently lower in mid-term election years. Voter turnout in recent years has consistently dropped an average of 15 percentage points between presidential and mid-term election years. That's why, in the days leading up to the 2010 election, Project Vote will work with trusted local partners in 12 states across the country to increase voter participation in 2010. This intensive campaign will focus on historically underrepresented populations who saw strong turnout in the 2008 election, including 1) Black and Latino voters; 2) New registrants since 2008; and 3) Americans under the age of 30.
Project Vote's Election Administration (EA) program works to enforce and expand public policy that facilitates access to the ballot rather than limits it. In addition to a field program that ensures Project Vote’s registrants get on the rolls, that they can vote, and that their votes are counted, Project Vote’s Election Administration program investigates, and—where necessary—initiates legal action to protect the rights of voters and remedy the attempted disenfranchisement of our constituencies. In the long-term, Project Vote works towards systemic changes: lowering the barriers that prevent underrepresented populations from registering and voting, while working to enforce and expand public policies and procedures that encourage full participation in elections.
The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires states to offer voter registration opportunities to clients and applicants of public assistance programs. Fifteen years after the NVRA went into effect, however, only a handful of states are consistently complying with the requirement to offer voter registration services to clients and applicants of public assistance programs. The Public Agency Registration Program is a joint effort by Project Vote and Demos, a national voting rights and election reform policy organization. In addition to technical assistance, the Project documents noncompliance and, when necessary, initiates litigation to enforce the public agency provisions of the NVRA.
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