NOTE: Same Day Voter Registration: Post-Crawford Reform to Address the Growing Burdens on Lower-Income Voters Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2009 Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy
Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy

NOTE: Same Day Voter Registration: Post-Crawford Reform to Address the Growing Burdens on Lower-Income Voters

Spring, 2009

Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy

16 Geo. J. Poverty Law & Pol'y 345


Pedro De Oliveira *



While in recent years much media and scholarly attention has been directed at voter identification laws, following the Supreme Court's 2008 decision upholding such a law in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 1 this paper will focus on another type of election regulation that disparately burdens lower-income Americans: advance deadlines for voter registration. Research shows that registration deadlines decrease voting rates more severely among lower-income Americans, 2 in part because they have less access to registration assistance 3 and because they are more likely to move from one residence to another. 4 In the early 1970s, the Supreme Court struck down a 90-day registration deadline as being too long in Dunn v. Blumstein, 5 while it separately upheld a 50-day deadline in Burns v. Fortson. 6 Since then, six additional states have joined Maine, Minnesota, and North Dakota in eliminating the burden of advance voter registration requirements, and 23 other states 7 and Congress itself have recently proposed similar legislation. 8 Yet given the fundamental importance of the right to vote, courts must not wait idly on the sidelines while legislators facing reelection deadlock over political conflicts of interest. With over 35 years having passed since the Supreme Court last addressed the burdens of registration deadlines, now is the time to revisit these election laws to determine if, and under what circumstances, their disparate burdens on lower-income voters can be constitutionally justified.


Because elections affect ...
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