Survey Shows Majority of Americans Do Not Support States’ Efforts to Restrict Voting

60 Percent Support Automatic, Secure Voter Registration


SAN FRANCISCO, March 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ – A new survey shows that a solid majority of Americans want to see reforms that will ensure voting is free, fair, and accessible to all eligible citizens despite recent efforts in several states to restrict voter registration and make access to the polls more difficult. According to the survey results, 69 percent of Americans are against voter ID laws and closing DMV offices early, 59 percent believe increased participation in voting means a healthier democracy, and a full 60 percent support automatically and securely registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license.

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“Since the 2010 election, 21 states have implemented new voting restrictions, and these sorts of things are against the will of the people, at least most people,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, who sponsored the survey in cooperation with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Other findings of the survey include:

* 78 percent of Americans feel they have not been encouraged to participate in their state’s primary or caucus.
* 50 percent of Americans don’t know where to go for information about their state’s primary or caucus.
* Six times more Hispanic than White voters report a wait time of more than 30 minutes.
* Four times more African-American than White voters report a wait time of more than 30 minutes.
* Millennials and Gen Xers are three to four times more likely than Boomers to have to wait in line to vote.
* 50 percent of Millennials describe themselves as political independents, and are restricted from voting in 11 states with closed primaries or caucuses.

“This November, voters in 16 states will face new restrictive voting rules for the first time in a high-stakes presidential election,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center. “Cutting back on voting access can shut out eligible voters and create major problems on Election Day, as we learned last week in Arizona. Instead of making it harder to vote, we should make sure the process works well for every American by instituting new reforms. Automatically and securely registering every eligible voter can add millions to the rolls and ensure all citizens can go to the polls this November and make their voice heard.”

Newmark pointed out that eight of the 12 states with the largest Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2010 passed laws making it harder to vote. Seven of the 11 states with the highest African-American turnout in 2008 have new voting restrictions in place. And eight states have curtailed early voting since 2011.

“Some at the state level will tell you these laws are meant to prevent voter fraud, but there’s almost no evidence of voter fraud. I believe what they’re really meant to do is prevent minorities from voting,” Newmark said. “And I learned in civics class that’s un-American.”

An infographic with survey results can be found here.

1,006 interviews among people were conducted online from January 26-28, 2016. The Bayesian confidence interval for 1,000 interviews is 3.5, which is roughly equivalent to a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 at the 95 percent confidence level.

Jan Wooten
Rubenstein Public Relations Inc.

Bruce Bonafede

Erik Opsal
Brennan Center for Justice