National Civic Summit - Democracy North Carolina - Adam Sotak

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National Civic Summit - Democracy North Carolina - Adam Sotak

  1. 1. Same Day Registration in North Carolina: Changing the Political Landscape
  2. 2. NC Same Day Registration Coalition ACLU of NC ● ACORN ● African American Caucus/NC Democratic Party ● Apartment Assn. of NC ● Common Cause/NC ● Common Sense Foundation ● Conservation Council of NC ● Democracy North Carolina ● Election Boards Assn. of NC ● Equality NC ● Generation Engage ● Institute for Southern Studies ● League of Women Voters/ NC ● NC Assn. of CDCs ● NC Association of Educators ● NC Black Leadership Caucus ● NC Center for Public Policy Research ● NC Conservation Network ● NC Council of Churches ● NC Fair Share ● NC Justice Center ● NC Lutheran Synod ● NC PIRG ● NC NAACP ● NC Women United ● NC Young Democrats ● Planned Parenthood of Central NC ● A. Philip Randolph Institute ● Southerners for Economic Justice ● SURGE/NC ● United Holy Church of America ● UNC Assn. of Student Governments
  3. 3. Why did North Carolina need SDR? • NC ranked 44th out of the 50 states in voter turnout from 1980 - 2000. • In 1996 & 2000 presidential elections, NC’s average voter turnout rate was only 46% of the total adult population. • In 2004 NC ranked 38th nationally in voter turnout. • There were approximately 1 million eligible voters in NC who were not even registered to vote. • There were 400,000 young people ages 18-34 not registered to vote. About 300,000 were under the age of 25.
  4. 4. Same Day Registration & our youth • Youth ages 18-24 have the lowest turnout rate of any voting age group. • In a Democracy NC survey, only 2% of youth aged 18-24 knew of the 25-day voter registration deadline. • In 2004, only 38% of NC youth ages 18-24 voted.
  5. 5. The Nuts & Bolts… In 2007, North Carolina became the first state in the South – and the most populous state in the nation – to allow registration and voting on the same day. Under the NC law, citizens who miss the normal deadline to register (25 days before Election Day) can go to an Early Voting site during the 17-day Early Voting period, show one of the required ID’s, fill out a registration form, swear under penalty of a felony that they live at the address given, and vote – all on the same day.
  6. 6. Effective tactics for passing SDR in North Carolina… • Group endorsements and coalition building. • Letters to the editor & media hits. • Pressure on state legislators and political parties’ leadership. • Public speaking events. • Research (low voter turnout and registration information, youth voting survey, etc.) • Public education after passage of the bill – websites, emails, voter guides, handouts, etc. • Relationships with local and state election officials. • Help from DEMOS and other national groups. • Strong champions in state legislature. • Focus on details of the legislation – what’s winnable? Election Day vs. early voting; ID requirements, etc.
  7. 7. DOES IT WORK?
  8. 8. SDR – Amazing Success in 2008 • NC led the nation as the state with the biggest increase in voter turnout over 2004 – SDR played a crucial part in this. • Over 49,000 people used SDR in primary election in May. • Over 250,000 used it during the general election! • Nearly half were first-time voters in the county, while the other half used the law to update their registration.
  9. 9. More SDR facts from 2008… • African Americans make up 21% of the voting-age population in the state, but they were 36% of those who used Same-Day Registration. • Even though 800,000 more people voted in NC in 2008 compared to 2004, the number of provisional ballots fell from 77,500 to 54,000 – largely due to SDR.

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