Get Out the Vote

Voter registration has swelled this campaign season, and keeping voters registered may turn out to be the biggest fight the Democrats have to win this November. While the Obama campaign challenges election schemes like that in Michigan, where voters who have lost their homes to foreclosure are being purged from the registration rolls, technical issues like voter database glitches are feared to disenfranchise thousands. With dirty politics that affected the Florida vote in 2000, like purging people from the registered voter list who matched only 80-90% of the information recorded for a convicted felon, many people were turned away from the polls who were legitimately registered in their districts. These tactics have been shown to disproportionately affect minority voters, and in the Florida case, black Americans accounted for 88% of those removed from the rolls even though they only comprise 11% of all voters in the state.

WHAT CAN I DO?

WHAT IF I’M ALREADY REGISTERED?

  • Well, I think I’m registered…
    Go to Vote For Change and enter basic information on your name and location. The bot will tell you whether you are registered to vote. Eventually the website will also provide voting locations.
  • Get involved.
    If you aren’t already, get involved with the campaign of your choice or volunteer to work at the polls on election day. Sign up with your county election office, get trained and be prepared for a long but fulfilling day. Responsibilities vary from county to county, but many counties are always looking for volunteers.

I’M TOO BUSY TO VOLUNTEER

    Me too, but I’m not too busy for some armchair activism.

    FEMINISTE is soliciting stories about your voting experiences to help encourage registered and unregistered voters to vote.

    Do you have a story about working a registration drive? About working the polls? Do you live in a split-ticket household? What kinds of traditions or stories does your family have when it comes to voting in an election? Do you have additional ideas on how to participate in the election during the final weeks? How is the subtext of race and gender this election season going to affect how you, your friends, and family members, are going to vote — or is it?

    Send your stories to fauxrealtho at gmail dot com with “VOTE” in the title, including your name and a link to your website, and we will publish your stories as they come in along with additional information about voting registration, disenfranchisement, and election news. Send us what you’ve got.

Meanwhile, you still have at least through September and early October to get registered to vote in the 2008 presidential election. Some states allow voters to register through the end of October. You can find out your state’s deadline here.

14 comments for “Get Out the Vote

  1. September 17, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Those with a felony conviction can still vote in Pennsylvania as well, as long as they are not incarcerated, in a mandatory residential facility (halfway house, court-mandated diversion program) or (and this is in question) on house-arrest.

  2. September 17, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for the info, I’ll add that to the post.

  3. Erica
    September 17, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    There is another way students can learn about voting: The Student Voting Guide created by the Brennan Center.

    If people want to Volunteer to Protect Voting Rights on Election Day, they can sign up here.

  4. September 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I have a question about voting and maybe someone can point me to a resource. I tried to vote twice (2004 and 2006) by absentee ballot when I was registered as a Democrat in NC and both times was not sent a ballot, no matter how many times I called my county and asked about it. I finally was able to successfully vote in a municipal election last year here in Iowa, but my polling place is extremely dangerous to get to. I have to run across a busy highway, almost certainly icy in November, and at that time of year the sun’s already down by five ‘o clock. I’m afraid of doing that again. I know sometimes the Democratic Party will give rides to elderly folks, but will they give rides to anyone? Does it have to be during the day?

  5. Melissa
    September 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    This Obama website will tell you if you are registered, and I think it will eventually have info on where your polling place is located.

    https://www.voteforchange.com/

  6. September 17, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks, Melissa and Erica. I added those links too.

  7. pawtucket
    September 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    People with a felony conviction who have completed probation and parole and paid any relevant fines can vote in Georgia.

    http://www.acluga.org/voting.rights.html

    People with a felony conviction can vote in Rhode Island even if they are still on probation or parole.

    http://www.sec.state.ri.us/PressReleases/felons-now-have-new-voting-rights

    Also, people may be too busy to volunteer, but you can make calls on your own schedule to your own other other states that need help.

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/votercontact/landing

  8. Lauren
    September 18, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Convicted felons can vote in Michigan as well, as long as they’re not physically in jail.

  9. September 18, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Is there a comprehensive website on felon voting rights? I tried to find one and couldn’t.

  10. Rosa
    September 18, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Judith, nobody’s going to refuse to put you on the bus for party affiliation, but you may get more individualized help if you support the candidate whose local people are organizing rides (on the other hand, it’s still a secret ballot once you get in the voting booth.) If you can’t find the phone # for your local Democratic party office, you can call party headquarters in Des Moines for the info.

    It’s good to call early because they may not have anything organized yet and the call might get them moving. Some of the bigger towns have regular ride programs with group pickups at care centers & malls (I’m pretty sure Clear Lake & Mason City do) but not all the little towns & rural counties have anything other than “call us, we’ll find you a ride.”

  11. American First
    September 18, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    U.S. Election Assistance Commission
    http://www.eac.gov/index_html1
    http://www.eac.gov/voter/Register%20to%20Vote
    http://www.fabnit.com/nvra_update.pdf

    McCain Site for voter registration
    https://secure.johnmccain.com/ActionCenter/RegisterToVote/Information.aspx

    Obama Site for voter registration
    http://www.voteforchange.com/index_obama.php

    Note – both McCain and Obama sites can be used regardless of party affiliation – includes Green, Socialist, Independent, etc….

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