Helping Americans Exercise Their Fundamental Rights
Claim Your Vote assists Americans who have a legal right to vote, who wish to vote, and who cannot vote. For all American citizens, their vote is their voice – and our mission is to enfranchise those who have never had this voice, or who have lost their voice, so that these Americans can participate in American democracy.
An enormous number of citizens are currently unable to exercise the right to vote.
Over the past ten years, under the pretext of protecting against voter fraud – which is a basically non-existent problem – states have instituted stricter and stricter photo IDs requirements. At the same time, under the guise of cleaning up and updating voting lists, states have also removed hundreds of thousands of eligible voters – if not more – from these rolls. These seemingly innocuous activities systematically target members of the minority underclass, many of whom live hand to mouth and whose cash-only world does not require IDs; this means that they cannot easily afford the fees and time associated with getting the required documents to register or vote.
What’s more, states have curtailed or eliminated early and absentee voting opportunities: they have reduced both the hours for early voting and the number of early polling stations. Laws have allowed partisan officials to prevent expansion of or reduce access to voting. And states have made it more difficult to run voter registration drives. These restrictions also target the underclass: the data shows that poor and minority voters have to travel further and wait far longer to cast their ballots.
We have been fighting voter suppression for years. We started over 10 years ago working with Ted Kennedy and President Obama. Our work against voter intimidation and misinformation in New Hampshire was so successful that Senator Jeanne Shaheen gave us significant credit for her re-election in 2014.
In 2018, we are partnering with Let America Vote, and expanding our efforts in Florida and New Hampshire.
The Problem in Florida
In Florida’s 26th district (FL-26), there are approximately 540,000 eligible voters, but only 280,000 of them voted; that is only 52% turnout, and much lower than the national average of 60%. Among Hispanic voters, turnout has averaged 47.6%. Because the district is 74% Hispanic and also includes a large number of displaced Puerto Ricans who are also eligible to vote, we estimate that the district has at least 130,000 eligible Hispanic voters who are not voting.
There are other problems in the district as well, such as purged voter rolls. We are currently working on reaching out to displaced Puerto Rican citizens so that they can get registered to vote.
The Problem in New Hampshire
The GOP-controlled state government recently passed a law that critics say amounts to placing a "poll tax" on college students” ….ABC News. July 21, 2018
In New Hampshire, any resident can register and vote on the same day – up to and including on Election Day. Recently, an increased number of the out-of-state students who now live in New Hampshire have voted, predominantly for Democratic candidates. As a result, the Republican Secretary of State and Legislature have enacted new laws to make it more difficult for these out-of-state students to vote.
New Laws Include:
Senate Bill 3 (signed into law in September 2017) increases restrictions on the ID required to register and vote for residents who have moved to the state fewer than 30 days prior to an election. Additionally, and more significantly, there are significant penalties, including criminal penalties, which may apply for using an incorrect ID. These penalties figure heavily in information describing this new law in state websites – because the real intention is to intimidate out-of-state students so that they do not vote in New Hampshire.
House Bill 1264 (signed into law in July 2018, but effective in 2019) effectively creates a poll tax to discourage out-of-state student from voting, by requiring them to re-register their car (a $300 charge) and get a New Hampshire driver’s license in order to vote in New Hampshire. As with Senate Bill 3, there are criminal penalties for non-compliant voting– and all ads focus on these criminal penalties in an attempt to intimidate out of state residential students.
There are approximately 83,000 campus enrolled students attending Title IV degree granting institutions in New Hampshire. Approximately 49,500 (59.6%) are in-state enrollees; approximately 33,500, (40.4%) are out-of-state students. Additionally, there are, approximately, an additional 50,000 non-student citizens between 18 and 24. Our target audience is this cohort of 130,000 citizens – a full 10% of New Hampshire’s population.
Learn more about our program in New Hampshire here.