Community leaders stress same-day registration on 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act
Political leaders and activists used this historic anniversary to stress the importance of the same-day registration bill. Introduced in 2013, the bill would allow Delaware citizens to register and vote on the same day. Currently, same-day registration is in effect in about a third of the country, including Washington D.C. Supporters of the bill say that same-day registration would improve voter turnout, citing research that indicates that people are more likely to vote closer to election days.
However, it’s failed to gain traction in the Delaware legislature in the past two sessions. Darlene Battle, executive director of the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement, expressed her frustration at an event to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
“So I am sick and tired of going to Dover and having my back turned on me," said Battle. "When I get there in January, listen to me. Listen to my colleagues. Listen to the coalitions. We’re not just doing this to be heard. It’s for the people we represent and that’s a lot in Delaware. I was in New York for two days. I asked people, ‘Why do folks forget about Delaware?’ They think we’re just a beach and retirees.”
Like Battle, community leaders emphasized that limiting voter access adversely affects minorities and underrepresented groups, restricting critical voices on issues like healthcare and minimum wage.
Reverend Donald Morton runs an initiative at the Complexities of Color Coalition that advocates for same-day registration.
“Black folk have often times been looking for an opportunity to jump in but once we get in, we’re often times relegated again to the margins," said Morton. "We need to be honest about who is opposing the legislation.”