News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

Democrats push for automatic voter registration in Wisconsin, New York

Progressive lawmakers in Wisconsin and New York want to make voting easier for their constituents by creating automatic registration systems.

In Wisconsin, funding for automatic voter registration was removed from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' budget by Republicans, but some liberal legislators are still fighting. They have introduced a bill that would automatically register residents when they receive or renew their driver's licenses or state ID cards, Wisconsin Public Radio reports.

New York Democrats are also pushing for automatic voter registration. On Thursday, state lawmakers will hear input from experts and officials on the logistics of creating an AVR system, per the New York Daily News. Earlier this session, Democrats in Albany took advantage of their control of both legislative chambers by passing other voter-friendly bills with the hopes of boosting state election participation.

Wisconsin and New York join a growing state-led movement to implement automatic voter registration. Over the past five years, 15 states and the District of Columbia have adopted AVR — most through partnerships with state agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles.

After adopting automatic registration systems, these states have seen significant increases to their voting populations, according to research conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice. Washington, D.C., saw the most modest growth, with a registration bump of 9.4 percent. Georgia, on the other hand, had its voting population skyrocket by 93.7 percent.
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.


RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.

Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez still discussing revolving door bill

Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?

To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."

The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.

The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.

Keep reading... Show less

Adults of all ages agree: There's little confidence in elected leaders

But in general, young adults have a lot more trust issues than their elders

Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.

While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."

Keep reading... Show less