Voter registration drive

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An October 2008 voter registration rally held on behalf of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

A voter registration drive is an effort undertaken by government authorities as well as political parties and other entities to register to vote all persons otherwise entitled to vote. In many countries the functions of electoral authorities includes endeavours to get as many people to register to vote as possible. In most jurisdictions, registration on the electoral roll is a prerequisite to a person being able to vote at elections.

In the United States, such drives are often undertaken by a political campaign, political party, or other outside groups (partisan and non-partisan), that seeks to register persons who are eligible to vote but are not registered. In all states except North Dakota, registration on the electoral roll in the United States is a prerequisite to a person being able to vote at federal, state or local elections, as well as to serve on juries and perform other civil duties. Sometimes these drives are undertaken for partisan purposes, and target specific demographic groups that are likely to vote for one candidate or other; on the other hand, such drives are sometimes undertaken by non-partisan groups and targeted more generally.

On October 4, 2004, a voter registration drive in Austin, Texas led by the Travis County Democratic Party registered over 12,000 people to vote in less than 24 hours.

In 2004, the Nu Mu Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity held a voter registration drive in DeKalb County, Georgia, from which Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox (Dem.) rejected all 63 voter registration applications on the basis that the fraternity did not follow correct procedures, including obtaining specific pre-clearance from the state to conduct their drive. Nu Mu Lambda filed Charles H. Wesley Education Foundation v. Cathy Cox (Wesley v. Cox) on the basis that the Georgia's long-standing policy and practice of rejecting mail-in voter registration applications that were submitted in bundles, by persons other than registrars, deputy registrars, or "authorized persons", violated the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 by undermining voter registration drives. A senior U.S. District Judge upheld earlier federal court decisions in the case, which also found private entities have a right, under the federal law, to engage in organized voter registration activity in Georgia at times and locations of their choosing, without the presence or permission of state or local election officials.[1]

In October 2012, about 27,000 people registered online in Oregon over two days, which constitutes an increase of more than 33% and raising the total number of registered voters in Oregon to about 2.2 million.[2]

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