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Too many places: states are falling down on the responsibility to offer registration to low-income Americans

From a press release by Project Vote: As the nation prepares for the 2008 election, a new study reveals that many states are routinely failing to offer low-income Americans an opportunity to register to vote as required by the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007, published this week by the non-partisan voting rights groups Demos and Project Vote, shows that 12 years after the NVRA's requirements went into effect, voter registrations from public agencies that provide services to low-income Americans have declined dramatically.

Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007 examines voter registration data state by state, finding that in states across the nation--Virginia, Florida, Texas, Nevada and many others--public assistance agencies are neglecting to offer voter registration to all clients and applicants, as required by the law. Because of noncompliance with the NVRA, the rights of thousands of low-income citizens are violated daily.

"All Americans should have an opportunity to register and vote, but states are ignoring a federal law that requires them to offer voter registration to low-income citizens. In 2006, more than twice as many low-income Americans were unregistered as upper-income Americans. States need to follow the law. If they do, we can close the registration gap between rich and poor," says Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007 co-author Douglas R. Hess. "Our democracy works best when everyone, not just some, are allowed to participate." -- Low-Income Americans Denied Voter Registration Opportunities, New Report Shows

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