By Christina E. Rodríguez
Around the country, certain states have made it more difficult for third party initiatives to register voters. “As of 2010, Census data shows that 37 percent of eligible blacks and 48 percent of eligible Hispanics are not registered to vote,” states a study by Diana Kasdan titled “State Restrictions on Voter Registration” from the Brennan Center for Justice.
According to the Brennan Center, eight states introduced restrictive laws in state legislature against registration drives in 2011 and
2012. Those states were California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“Laws passed in Florida and Texas shut down drives across the state, including those run by the League of Women Voters of Florida, which had been registering voters for 70 years,” states Wendy Weiser, director of Democracy Program in the forward of the study. Of the organizations that have had their initiatives hindered are the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund and the National Council of La Raza. For many Latinos around the country, these communal drives are the way that they update their information and register to vote in the first place.
Here in Chicago, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is leading the way, partnering with community-based organizations to get the vote out. Among them are The Resurrection Project which has been working since the beginning of July to register voters in Pilsen and the Back of the Yards. Back of the Yards is notorious for having one of the lowest voter turn- outs in the city of Chicago. For the summer, TRP’s “Get Out the Vote” campaign had a goal of registering 1,000 people and has thus far registered 909 people. The overall goal of the ICIRR is to register 26,000 new Americans.
A new organization called Chicago Votes is aiming to get the Millennial voter out, a generation that rarely votes. “We believe in the potential of our generation to change politics as usual,” states their website.
National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 25, has over 320 committed partners and locally, there are more than 30 organizations committed to registering over 5,000 voters in Illinois.
Around the country, certain states have madeitmoredifficultforthirdpartyinitia-
tivestoregistervoters.“Asof2010,Census data showsthat37percent ofeligibleblacks and48percentofeligibleHispanicsarenot registeredto vote,”statesastudybyDiana Kasdantitled“State Restrictions onVoter
Registration” fromthe BrennanCenter for
Accordingto theBrennanCenter,eight statesintroducedrestrictivelawsinstateleg- islatureagainstregistrationdrives in2011and
2012. Thosestates wereCalifornia, Florida, Illinois,Michigan,Mississippi,Nevada,North CarolinaandSouthCarolina.
“Laws passedinFloridaandTexasshut down drivesacrossthestate,includingthose runbytheLeagueofWomenVotersofFlori- da,whichhadbeenregisteringvotersfor70 years,”statesWendyWeiser,directorofDe- mocracyProgramintheforwardofthestudy. Oftheorganizationsthathavehadtheirini- tiativeshinderedaretheMexicanAmerican LegalDefenseFundandtheNationalCoun- cilofLaRaza.FormanyLatinosaroundthe country,thesecommunaldrivesaretheway thatthey updatetheirinformationand regis-
Immigrant andRefugeeRights isleading
theway, partneringwithcommunity-based organizations toget the vote out. Among themareThe ResurrectionProjectwhich has beenworkingsincethebeginningof JulytoregistervotersinPilsenandtheBack oftheYards. BackoftheYardsisnotori- ousforhavingoneofthelowestvoterturn- outsinthecityofChicago.Forthesummer, TRP’s“GetOuttheVote”campaignhada goalof registering 1,000peopleandhas thusfarregistered909people.Theoverall goalofthe ICIRRistoregister26,000 new Americans.
AneworganizationcalledChicagoVotesis aimingtogettheMillennialvoterout,agen- erationthatrarelyvotes.“Webelieveinthe potentialofourgenerationtochangepolitics asusual,”statestheirwebsite.
NationalVoterRegistrationDay,Sept.25, hasover320committedpartnersandlocally, therearemorethan30organizationscom- mittedtoregisteringover5,000votersinIl- linois.
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