More Hoosiers register to vote through public assistance offices
By Megan Banta
INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly 53,000 low-income Hoosiers either applied to register to vote or updated their existing registrations at public assistance offices from 2011 to 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
That is a significant increase from the previous two-year period, when less than 21,000 low-income Hoosiers received help from public agency offices in registering or updating an existing registration. And this increase is part of a steady upward trend in Indiana.
According to Project Vote, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization that works to empower, educate and mobilize marginalized and under-represented voters, the increase is the result of a lawsuit settled in 2011.
The lawsuit brought Indiana into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires public agencies that provide public assistance – such as food stamps and Medicaid – to also offer their clients the opportunity to apply to register to vote or update their registrations when they apply for benefits, recertify or change address.
Sarah Brannon, director of Project Vote’s Public Agency Voter Registration Program, said the report shows that Hoosiers “want to register and will register to vote when given the opportunity.”
“The goal of the NVRA was to make registering and updating your registration more accessible, and specifically to reach those Americans who have been historically underrepresented in the electorate,” Brannon said in a statement. “Indiana is now seeing the result of their work to implement the law and reach new voters.”
Megan Banta is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.