This sounds good:
A newly released review of a June 27 report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) shows that voter registration application rates at state public assistance agencies have risen sharply following National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) enforcement actions by advocacy groups Demos, Project Vote, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and others. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of states not targeted have continued to see a long decline in registration of lower-income residents.
“The new data underscore the effectiveness of enforcement in giving low income Americans a voice in the democratic process,” said Lisa Danetz, Senior Counsel at Demos and co-lead counsel in a settled lawsuit against Ohio. “For example, Ohio topped the EAC list for voter registration at public assistance offices. As a result of our lawsuit, the state institutionalized procedures to offer voter registration. Those procedures will ensure that voter registration does not fall off the radar screen.”Ohio and Missouri topped the rankings in reported voter registration applications submitted at public assistance offices. Both states have settled lawsuits regarding lack of National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) compliance, brought by Demos, Project Vote, the Lawyers’ Committee, and others.
They’re suing to enforce the National Voter Registration Act (known as “motor voter”).
I read quite a bit on election law, and “motor voter” is usually portrayed as an idea that enjoyed “broad bipartisan support”. The implication is that Republicans and Democrats linked arms across the aisle and happily rubber-stamped the bill.
Here’s how The League of Women Voters remembers it:
The League’s grassroots campaign to secure national legislation to reform voter registration resulted in 1990 passage by the House of Representatives of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), or “motor voter.” Despite strong League lobbying, the Senate refused to bring the bill to the floor in fall 1990.
The effort to pass national motor-voter legislation intensified in the 102nd Congress. In February 1991, the National Voter Registration Act of 1991 was introduced in the Senate. Leading a national coalition, the League carried out a high visibility, multifaceted, grassroots drive, resulting in passage of the Senate bill by both the House and Senate in 1992. Despite League pressure, the President vetoed the bill. An attempt to override the veto in the Senate fell five votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority.
Finally, in 1993, the many years of concerted effort by the League and other voting rights organizations paid off, when both houses of Congress passed voter registration reform legislation. President Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act in May. The “motor-voter” bill enabled citizens to apply to register at motor vehicle agencies automatically, as well as by mail and at public and private agencies that service the public.
So, like nearly everything else, it was big battle and it took too long.
Here is a report on a study of voting across income levels. I don’t know if it is reliable. If it’s accurate, most of us probably aren’t adequately or equitably represented:
Furthermore, there are enormous disparities that exist in America across income levels in all forms of participation, particularly voting. A study on these disparities found that 86% of people with incomes above $75,000 claim to have voted in presidential elections as compared with only 52% of people with incomes under $15,000. As a result of the participation disparity across demographic lines, politicians are more responsive to the opinions of high-income constituents.
A study of roll call votes under the 107th and 108th Congresses reported that legislators were three times more responsive to high-income constituents than middle-income constituents and were the least responsive to the needs of low-income constituents.