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Indiana

Low-Income Voters Added to the Voting Rolls through Improved NVRA Implementation

Perhaps the most impressive recent success story in expanding political participation has been the dramatic turnaround in public agency voter registrations in some states.  With the prodding of Demos, Project Vote, and others under the umbrella of the NVRA Project, several states have reinvigorated compliance with this federal law that requires that certain state agencies offer voter registration to the individuals they serve.  The most well known agencies are motor vehicle departments, but public assistance agencies are also included and it is they that can have the greatest impact on bringing low-income and marginalized citizens into the political process.

Colorado and Indiana Legislatures Pass Internet Voter Registration Bills

In the final week of their legislative sessions, the Colorado and Indiana legislatures gave final approval to bills allowing residents to register to vote online.  Colorado Senators passed HB 1160 and Indiana House Members passed HB 1346; both bills allow residents with driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards to register to vote online.  The legislation has been sent to the governor in both states.  In Colorado the governor is expected to sign the bill, while Indiana's governor has not indicated support or opposition.

Notable in Election News

Early Voting Shows Big Gain Nationally, Hits Majority in Ten States 
The final numbers for early voting have been posted by the United States Elections Project at George Mason University and they are big: 30% of votes nationwide were cast early and a majority of voters cast their votes either by mail or in person before Election Day in ten states.  The total increase is 50% over the number cast in the 2004 presidential election. And even more striking, Coloradans cast 79% of their votes early, the vast majority through mail-in ballots.  These numbers make clear that the electoral landscape is changing in many states, and the endorsement by so many voters will likely fuel further adoption of early voting this session and beyond.

Privatization Update: Recent News from across the Country

As states face mounting deficits, corporate lobbyists have been promoting the idea that privatization of public services and assets is a free lunch -- services can be delivered more cheaply than by public employees and public assets like highways can be sold or leased for a hefty return to the taxpayer.  As PSN has detailed in our December 2007 report Privatizing in the Dark: The Pitfalls of Privatization & Why Budget Disclosure is Needed, the promises of privatization too often yield to a reality of lost money and degraded services, weak oversight and lost expertise, assets sold off for short-term gains but long-term loss, lost democratic accountability, and the corruption of the political process.