'We can’t afford to wait': coronavirus could shut out droves of new US voters

The Guardian,  April 23, 2020

"Limited voter registration is most likely to affect young people, minority groups, and naturalized immigrants, groups projected to contribute to record-high turnout in November. Freezing them out is likely to benefit Republicans, who tend to see a more diverse and younger electorate as a threat.

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Such strategies could be essential to registering voters en masse since as many voters register at motor vehicle offices, or DMVs, which are now closed. Over 35 million people registered to vote at DMVs between 2016 and 2018 – 45% of the registrations submitted.

The closure of these offices has also made it more difficult to get the identification required in many states to vote. VoteRiders, a group that assists people in getting IDs, has been left helping people obtain the documents they need when the offices eventually open, said Laina Reynolds Levy, a spokesperson.

Newly naturalized immigrants, another important voting bloc, may also be disenfranchised this year. US Citizen and Immigration Services cancelled citizenship oath ceremonies and in-person interviews, which could leave about 441,000 nearly naturalized citizens unable to vote in November, according to NBC News.

With government offices closed, registering voters will depend even more on advocacy groups, which are now organizing online and unable to knock on doors or develop trust in person."

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Hannah Piercey

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