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Federal Report: TN Does Best for Voter Registration

July 5, 2007

A new report from the federal Election Assistance Commission shows Tennessee registers more voters at public assistance offices than any other state. In fact, most states don't offer the option at all, even though it's required under the National Voter Registration Act. Tennessee is also the only state the Justice Department has even gone after to enforce the law.

Michael Slater with Project Vote says the National Voter Registration Act was put in place ten years ago to improve the low rate of voter registration among people with lower incomes.

“It was meant to further and complete the work of the Voting Rights Act by eliminating lots of barriers to voter registration that existed around the country. It's an important voting rights bill.”

Tthe report also shows that states often don't even have a consistent way to keep track of the total number of registered voters.

Slater adds that Tennessee is best at following the law because the Justice Department forced the state to comply. He says no other states have been forced to follow the law, although the department has been busy pursuing other requirements.

“The Justice Department has been on a real tear to try and purge voters, while at the same time, ignoring overwhelming evidence that states aren't doing enough to register voters.”

The complete report is at www.eac.gov.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - TN