New Data Show Dramatic Voter Registration Increases in Public Assistance Agencies

Source: Scott Novakowski, Demos, 2008

Five states have reported dramatic voter registration increases among low-income citizens seen at public assistance agencies, according to a new report by Demos. Agency-based voter registration jumped between 22 percent and over 2,600 percent in North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri after these states worked with Demos and its partners to re-implement the National Voter Registration Act.

Toward an Equal Electorate: Five States’ Gains Under the National Voter Registration Act also reports that an additional 125,000 low-income voters were added to the rolls in the five states in time for the November election. Most were registered in the past several months.

Demos attributes the registration increases to a number of agency reforms, including revised voter registration policies and procedures, staff training, and comprehensive data collection. All except Missouri were accomplished in cooperation with Demos and its partners. Missouri enacted its changes pursuant to court order.

The successes seen in the five states are testament to what can be accomplished when states take seriously their responsibilities under the law. NVRA compliance models developed in North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri can produce similar results elsewhere.

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