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Leave No Voter Behind.
September 29, 2004 4:03 PM   Subscribe

MoveOn's "Leave No Voter Behind" campaign takes off. Tonight, MoveOn.org is starting what is expected to be the world's largest phone bank campaign, using the Internet to coordinate hundreds of thousands of volunteers to get people to register and vote on Election Day. Are the polls getting it wrong as some suggest? Will grassroot phonebanking work in swing states, or will this election be won by "Bible-believing women" instead?
posted by insomnia_lj (14 comments total)

 
MoveOn and volunteers will need to act rather quickly. The registration deadline for some states is October 2.
State Registration Deadlines [via the Voters Information Guide for the 2004 US Election]

posted by quam at 4:28 PM on September 29, 2004


Sorry if this sounds like a newbie question, but what's with voter registration anyway?

Why can't somebody just show up, prove citizenship, and vote?

I've voted in pretty much every Canadian election in the last 10 years or so. Municipal, Provincial and Federal.

Not once was I registered to vote. I show up, show some ID, and vote. Why is everything so seemingly complicated about the US system?
posted by MiG at 5:31 PM on September 29, 2004


"Why can't somebody just show up, prove citizenship, and vote?"

That's a good question. They can in Idaho, Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:42 PM on September 29, 2004


Re:MiG, There are a few states, such as North Dakota, where no voter registration is necessary. In some respects, voter registration was intended to a barrier to prevent voting by the "dangerous classes." The Southern states definitely used barriers in the registration process to deter blacks from voting. It's also used to find jurors for jury duty in the U.S., although now many states have moved to using info on driver's licenses instead, because linking jury service to voting has had the effect of lowering voting rates.
posted by jonp72 at 5:43 PM on September 29, 2004


The Austin Statesman had an article the other day about 'record numbers' of young people registering to vote for this election. It said that the number of registered voters was up 64% since the 2000 election.

I can't find a web version of the article, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
posted by Espoo2 at 5:46 PM on September 29, 2004


The state needs to know where you live so that you only vote once, and only at the right polling place -- it needs a list of voters for each polling place. You can't just show up, prove citizenship, and vote, because then you could vote multiple times at different polling places.

IIRC, Canada just does an enumeration before every (national) election. Other countries have schemes where the government tracks your location and keeps your registered in the right place.

That sort of WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE program is less popular in the states, so you have to go register yourself. Even though the IRS already knows where you live, but who said people had to be consistent?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:06 PM on September 29, 2004


Hey folks. I've been absent from Mefi for a long time now, and it's because I've been doing a lot of political work. I'm one of 500 paid organizers for Leave No Voter Beind, and it's been a shitload of work so far.

Not to discourage a discussion of voter registration laws, but registering new voters is in no way the focus of Leave No Voter Behind. Our volunteers are making contact with and establishing relationships with members of the Democratic base who have infrequent or shoddy voting records, and mobilizing every one of them to the polls on November 2. That's all the details I'm dishing out (and it's all public knowledge anywhoo), but suffice to say that 500,000 new Kerry votes are projected to come out of all this effort.

Oh yeah, and MoveOn members are clearly the coolest and most together people in the world.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 6:17 PM on September 29, 2004


Re: Canada (well, Ontario, anyway)... You can just show up with proper ID and a bill with your current address on it. You can't just "go to another voting station" because each address only falls into one voting station's region. If the address isn't in that region's database, you can't vote there.
posted by dobbs at 6:37 PM on September 29, 2004


but registering new voters is in no way the focus of Leave No Voter Behind.

Thank God, because with the rampant anti-Kerry ads all over television these days (which although factually dishonest, very convincing nonetheless), I'd hate to see a pro-Democratic special interest group sign up a bunch of pro-Bush, or Anti-Kerry voters.

Yes, before anyone asks, I am sincerely opposed to people simply voting just because someone told them to. The last thing any country needs is a bunch of ill-informed idiots simply voting because their friends or some commercial told them to. The results are so unpredictable that any campaign would be committing suicide. Just nail down the ones you got, which seem to be slipping away from Kerry.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:56 PM on September 29, 2004


Wow, I'm really tired. Let's pretend that what I wrote above wasn't completely redundant.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:17 PM on September 29, 2004


Re: Canada (well, Ontario, anyway)... You can just show up with proper ID and a bill with your current address on it. You can't just "go to another voting station" because each address only falls into one voting station's region. If the address isn't in that region's database, you can't vote there.

That's pretty much the Minnesota way. Precincts are typically small enough that elections judges can tell whether you're in the right place by glancing at a map, maybe even just from memory.

In the city, two or three precincts may vote at a central school, church, park building, etc.--sometimes if someone is in the wrong precinct, they can just walk down the hallway to the correct one.
posted by gimonca at 8:04 PM on September 29, 2004


You can just show up with proper ID and a bill with your current address on it.

So if I want to vote multiple times in Ontario, all I need to do is get some bills at home and some sent to my parents' house, or a friend's house, etc? Or get the electric service at their homes shunted into my name?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:05 PM on September 29, 2004


I'm glad Wisconsin has registration on election day (especially since I'm moving between the Sept. Primaries) . In 2000, I had to go to 3 different places before I was able to vote. In Feb., I had to argue that the bills I've received from the city were proof that I lived where I lived. Next time, I'm bringing my lease and am going to have a license with my current address, and maybe bring someone along who can vouch for where I live.
posted by drezdn at 8:31 PM on September 29, 2004


Don't kid yourself, though, this last-minute registration or provisional ballot casting in many states can be a (some people would say) confusing web of rules that end up with a significant rate of invalid or uncast ballots.
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:50 AM on September 30, 2004


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