National groups, in search of voting rights laws that could be pursued in Republican-controlled states, have taken notice of the potential for city-by-city reforms. The Center for Popular Democracy, a national progressive group connected to advocacy organizations in 38 states, issued a report Friday geared toward educating potential partners on what voting reforms cities can pursue.
First shared with Mic, the report shows how local reforms in five states — Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin — could add hundreds of thousands of voters to the rolls through the efforts of city officials and school boards. For example, hundreds of thousands of people could be registered in public agencies across four cities in Texas, and tens of thousands of high school students could be registered annually in Florida, the report found.
Registering voters has been a focus of local organizers for decades. And a few cities, notably New York, have worked for years to pioneer voter registration solutions at the local level.
But lobbying local leaders to make it easier for city and county residents to register to vote is a relatively new push, one gaining steam following the 2016 presidential election as activists became tired of waiting for opportunities to reverse state-level voter suppression laws.