News Release

Unequal and Separate: Voter Registration

LISA WOZNIAK
Wozniak is the Great Lakes regional director for the League of Conservation Voters. She said today: “The biggest hurdle we face here in Michigan is the requirement that the address on a voter’s driver’s license must match the address on his or her voter registration card. This disenfranchises large numbers of students. Students move often, and being required to update these records in the midst of trying to make academic progress is an unreasonable expectation. Also, some students prefer to keep their parents’ addresses on their driver’s license for insurance purposes. This in no way means that they should not be allowed to participate in the political process in the jurisdiction where they reside for most of the year.”

She added: “We have put together a report on barriers to students voting, ‘Student Voter Disenfranchisement,’ in collaboration with Rock the Vote and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. Students, like migrant workers and the homeless, have living situations that make them vulnerable to disenfranchisement. However, according to federal law, students have the right to vote where they live and under no circumstances should that right be violated.”

BRAD BROWN
Brown is the president of the Miami-Dade NAACP. He said today: “Many citizens in Florida feel that someone is going to try to steal the election. … One problem is secrecy around the purge list. Another problem is with the actual list itself. For the 2004 election, the Secretary of State’s office created a list of 47,000 people who were alleged to be ex-felons. Florida permanently disenfranchises anyone convicted of a felony. Unless the person has applied for and received clemency from the governor’s office, their names are purged from the voter rolls. The law itself is problematic, but the Miami Herald discovered that over 2,000 of the people declared ineligible by the Secretary of State’s office had had their rights restored. Also, there were only about 60 Hispanics on the list of 47,000. … Hispanics in Florida tend to vote Republican. Although the Secretary of State’s office claims that these were just technical errors, a lot of people find that hard to believe. Ultimately, the Secretary of State’s office decided to abandon the project of purging the voter rolls altogether. But it leaves a lot of people waiting for the other shoe to drop … wondering what’s going to happen next.”

He added: “The public’s distrust was fueled by the Secretary of State’s refusal to make the list public. They said that the inaccuracies resulted from technical errors, but they made the errors. The only reason the problems were found is that CNN sued to make the list public. Secretary of State Glenda Hood’s office didn’t find these errors, which it had been trying so hard to keep secret.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167