United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Post.

Voter registration. Hearings, Ninety-third Congress, first session, on S. 352 and S. 472. Feb. 7, 8, and March 16, 1973 online

. (page 1 of 28)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on PostVoter registration. Hearings, Ninety-third Congress, first session, on S. 352 and S. 472. Feb. 7, 8, and March 16, 1973 → online text (page 1 of 28)
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S. 352 and S. 472

FEB. 7, 8 AND MARCH 16, 1973

Printed for the use of the
Committee on Post OflBce and Civil Service

^r^^C V^.f^Wl^'y'^V^'^^

91-677 WASHINGTON : 1973


GALE W. McGEE, Wyoming, Chairman




David Minton, Staff Director and Counsel

Rod Crowlie, Associate Staff Director

Clyde S. DuPont, Minority Counsel

Richard G. Fuller, Professional Staff Member

Dan Doherty, Professional Staff Member

Thomas E. Ebzery, Professional Staff Member

John J. Giannini, Professional Staff Member





Text of S. 352 3

Text of S. 472 .'///.ll 14

Opening statement of Chairman McGee 1

Wednesday, February 7, 1973

Kennedy, Hon. Edward M., a U.S. Senator from the State of Massachu-
setts 22

Boucher, Hon. H. A., Lieutenant Governor, State of Alaska 38

Scammon, Richard, director of Elections Research Center and former

Director of the Bureau of the Census 85

Malchon, Ms. Jeanne, League of Women Voters Education Fund 90

Garber, Ms. Marie, elections administrator, Montgomery County, Md 154

Barrett, Ms. Catharine, president of the National Education Association;

accompanied by Rosalyn Hester and Charles Olsen 157

Thursday, February 8, 1973

Biemiller, Andrew J., director, Department of Legislation, AFL-CIO;

accompanied by Kenneth Meiklejohn, legislative representative 161

Wood, Randall B., former director of elections for the State of Texas 168

Kemball, Penn, professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia

University 175

Panarello, Edward, legislative director, Retail Clerks International Asso-
ciation 183

Clayman, Jacob, administrative director, Industrial Union Department,


Friday, March 16, 1973

Lawton, Ms. Mary C, deputy assistant attorney general. Office of Legal

Counsel, Department of Justice, accompanied by Nathan Siegel 214

Brock, Hon. Bill, a U.S. Senator from the State of Tennessee 230

Hagan, Hon. Robert L., Acting Director, Bureau of the Census, Social
and Economic Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Com-
merce 237

SchaflFer, Hon. Gloria, Secretary of State, State of Connecticut 245

Padilla, Mrs. Gilbert, United Farm Workers 249

Dinkins, Mr. David N., president. Board of Elections of New York City.. 251

Wattenberg, Mr. Ben. J., The Coalition ior a Democratic Majority 265


Wednesday, February 7, 1973

Voter turnout by State in the 1972 U.S. presidential election 29

Voter turnout in U.S. presidential elections, 1824-1972 30

Voter turnout in recent general elections in foreign nations 30

Prepared statement of Hon. Frank E. Moss, a U.S. Senator from the State

of Utah .. 35

Copy of Alaska State voter registration form 45

Hawaii voter registration program for 1970 48

"Administrative Obstacles to Voting," a report of the Election Systems

Project, the League of Women Voters Education Fund 96

Communique — Election Systems Project, September 1, 1972 131

Communique — Election Systems Project, September 28, 1972 142

Communique — Election Systems Project, January 1973 148




Thursday, February 8, 1973

Highlights of "The Disconnected" — based on a nationwide study of voter Page
registration 181

"Non-Voters Were Mostly Minority," article from the Spartanburg, S.C.,

Herald, January 8, 1973 182

"New Registration Approach," article from the Ashland, Ky., Independent,

October 24, 1972 183

Prepared statement of Jacob Clavman, administrative director, Industrial

Union Department, AFL-CIOl 190

Prepared statement of Hon. Thomas Eagleton, a U.S. Senator from the

State of Missouri 197

Prepared statement of the Communications Workers of America 200

Prepared statement of Floyd E. Smith, international president, Interna-
tional Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers 206

Prepared statement of WilUam J. Crotty, professor. Department of Po-
litical Science, Northwestern University 209

Friday, March 16, 1973

Voting statistics 236

Full text of a statement concerning mail registration contained in a
"Preliminary report and recommendations for legislation for considera-
tion by the" 1973 legislation session of the Joint Legislative Committee
to make a study of the election law and related statutes" 253

Tables I thru VI on percent of eligible voters and other pertinent statistics. 267

Prepared statement of Patrick J. Nilan, legislative director, American

Postal Workers Union (AFL-CIO) 269

Prepared statement of Clyde M. Webber, national president, American

Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO) 271



U.S. Senate,
Committee on Post Office and Ci\t[l SER^'^CE,

Washington^ D.C.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 :10 a.m. in room 6202,
Dirksen Office Building, Senator Gale W. McGee (chairman of the
committee) presiding.

Present: Senator Stevens.

Staff members present: David Minton, staff director and counsel;
Rod Crowlie, associate staff director; Clyde DuPont, minority coun-
sel; Tom Ebzery, assistant counsel; Eichard G. Fuller, professional
staff member; Andrew E. Manatos, legislative assistant; and John J.
Giamiini, professional staff members.


The Chairman. I apologize for the delay. Since 8 : 30 this morning,
we have been holding another meeting trying to mobilize support for
the International Secretariat of the United Nations for the meeting
in Nairobi on environmental problems, and that is not easy when we
understand the mood of the Congress and others these days, but we
are assembled here to open a series of hearings on a question that
surfaced long ago and that reached the point of Senate action last

That was a proposal to register voters for all Federal elections by
post card, an operation to be mechanically administered by the Bu-
reau of the Census and to be supervised by teams to police whatever
incidents of fraud might occur.

The measure was introduced as the consequence of many measures,
and the best of the many being put together in one measure that
hopefully could produce a much higher percentage of participation
in American elections for the President and the Senate and the House.

Some incentives were further supplied to not only assist States in
administering such programs, should they decide to apply the same
principles of post card election to all State elections : financial incen-
tives as well as manpower assistance. We must deal with what is an
archaic process when one remembers that the registration process in
this country was introduced after our own Civil War, primarily to pre-
vent certain people from voting, not to encourage them to vote. This
archaic incentive has continued to hang heavy over much of the
process of voter registration.

We are very mindful as the arguments were raised a year ago in the
debate in the Senate, of the fears and misgivings some people have


that by mere post card registration, you would have an incentive to
permit fraud.

There are others who felt that you would have people who would not
be well educated, casting a vote, and there were some silent misgivings
that some of these people would even vote the wrong way, what-
ever that is.

The point of it all in my judgment is that these were new excuses
being created to obstruct or to slow down or to otherwise prevent
broadening the base of voter participation.

Be that as it may, dramatic events since a year ago have now made
it all the more imperative that the Congress in its collective wisdom
arrive at an equitable piece of legislation to increase the odds of voter

One of those new" circumstances is the fact that an election year is
behind us and we are not caught up in the midst of a forthcoming
election. We likewise have a large new segment of voters, the 18-year-
olds and up.

And finally we have the political trauma of the lowest participation
of potential voters in modern history who had participated in this last

When one remembers that there is usually a high percentage ranging
from 80 to 90 percent of registered voters who finally do vote, the study
that George Gallup made this last fall after the election which sug-
gested that a third of those who did not vote because they were not
registered, would have voted had they not been obstructed in one way
or another from registering.

Oh, I know it is easy to say if you really want to vote, you will see
that you get registered. Well, when you remember that there are a great
many of our people who when registered decide not to vote, the problem
of motivation remains very much with us.

There are lots of reasons why people do not vote but we have to make
certain in the Congress, it seems to me, that one of those reasons is not
that it is too difficult to get registered.

We are talking now of millions of potential voters, how many mil-
lions depends upon where you start assessing the problem, and that is
the reason that these hearings have been resumed now this year in the
sincere hope that we can produce legislation that will broaden the base
of voter participation.

That is why it is especially appropriate that we have as our first
witness today Senator Edward Kennedy from Massachusetts. Ted,
please come up and take the hot seat there. Ted has been out front on
this question as one of the prime movers of ideas in this field from the
very beginning, and he is here to testify to the question again in this
new series of hearings, and we are anxious to hear his statement this


Before we delve too deeply into the subject, I request that copies of
S. 352 and S. 472 be placed in the record.
(The bills referred to follow :)

93d congress

IsT Session



January 12, 1973

Mr. McGke introduced the following bill ; which was read twice and referred
to the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service


To amend title 13, United States Code, to establish within the
Bureau of the Census a Voter Registration Administration
for the purpose of administering a voter registration pro-
gram through the Postal Service.

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-

2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

3 That this Act may be cited as the "Voter Registration Act."

4 Sec. 2. (a) Title 13, United States Code, is amended

5 by adding at the end thereof the following new chapter:






"401. Definitions.

"402. Establishment.

"403. Duties and powers.

"404. Qualifications and procedure.

"405. Registration forms.

"406. Distribution of registration forms.

"407. Prevention of fraudulent registration.

"408. Penalties.

"409. Financial assistance.

"410. Regulations.

3 "§401. Definitions

4 "As used in this chapter —

5 "(1) 'Administration' means the Voter Registra-

6 tion Administration;

7 " (2) 'State' means each State of the United States,

8 the political subdivisions of each State, and the District

9 of Columbia;

10 "(3) 'Federal office' means the office of the Pres-

11 ident, the Vice President, a Senator, a Representative,

12 or the Delegate to the Congress;

13 " (4) 'Federal election' means any primary, special,

14 general, or other election held for the purpose of nomi-

15 nating or electing candidates for any Federal office, in-

16 eluding any election held for the purpose of expressing

17 voter preference for the nomination of individuals for

18 election to the Office of President and any election held

19 for the purpose of selecting delegates to a national polit-


1 ical party nominating convention or to a eaueus held for

2 the purpose of selecting delegates to such a convention;

3 " (5) 'State election' means any election other .than

4 a Federal election; and

5 " (6) 'State official' means any individual who acts

6 as an official or agent of a government of a State or polit-

7 ical subdivision thereof to register qualified electors, or

8 to conduct or supervise any Federal election in a State.

9 "§402. Establishment

10 "(a) There is established within the Bureau of the

n Census, Department of Commerce, the Voter Eegistration

12 Administration.

13 "(b) The President shall appoint, by and with the

14 advice and consent of the Senate, an Administrator and
1^ two Associate Administrators for terms of four years each,
16 who may continue in office until a successor is qualified.
^^ An individual appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve the
1^ remainder of the term to which his predecessor was ap-
1^ pointed. The Associate Administrators shall not be adherents
2^ of the same pofitical party. The Administrator shall be the
-^^ chief executive officer of the Administration.

2^ "§ 403. Duties and Powers

^^ "The Administration shall—


"(1) establish and administer a voter registration


program in accordance with this chapter for all Federal


1 elections and, when requested by the States, for State

2 elections ;

3 "(2) collect, analyze, and arrange for the publica-

4 tion and sale by the Government Printing Office of in-

5 formation concerning elections in the United States (but

6 this publication shall not disclose any information which

7 permits the identification of individual voters) ;

8 "(3) provide assistance to State officials concern-

9 ing the registration-by-mail progi'am and election prob-

10 lems generally ;

11 " (4) obtain facifities and supplies and appoint and

12 fix the pay of officers and employees, as may be neces-

13 sary to permit the Administration to carry out its duties

14 and powers under this chapter, and such officers and
1^ employees shall be in the competitive service under title

16 5, United States Code;

17 "(5) appoint and fix the pay of officers and em-

18 ployees for temporary services as authorized under sub-

19 chapter II of chapter 1 of this title for temporary em-

20 ployees of the Bureau of the Census ;

21 "(6) prepare and submit to the President and the

22 Congress a report on its activities, and on voter regis-

23 tration and elections generally in the United States, im-
2^^ mediately following each biennial general Federal elec-
25 tion; and


1 " (7) take such other action as it deems necessary

2 and proper to cany out its duties and powei^s under this

3 chapter.

4 "§404. Qualifications and Procedure

5 " (a) An individual who is eligible to vote under State
(5 law and who is registered to vote under the provisions of
7 this chapter shall be entitled to vote in Federal elections in
g that State.

9 "(b) Whenever a Federal election is held in any State,

20 the Administration nuiy, upon the request of an}^ State of-

II ficial, furnish officers and employees and such other assist-

jv ance as the Administration and the State official may agree

yj upon to assist in the registration of individuals applying to

II register in that State under the provisions of this chapter.

15 "§405. Registration Forms

16 "(a) The Administration shall prepare voter registra-

17 tion forms in accordance with the provisions of this section.

18 "(b) Printed registration forms shall be designed to

19 provide a simple method of registering l)y mail to vote.

20 Registration forms shall include such matter as State law

21 requires and as the Administration determines appropriate

22 to ascertain the cjualifications of an individual applying

23 to register under the pro^asions of this chapter and to

24 prevent fraudulent registration.



1 " (c) A registration notification form advising the ap-

2 plicant of the acceptance or rejection of his registration shall

3 be completed and promptly mailed bj^ the State official to

4 the applicant. If an}^ registration notification form is un-

5 deliverable, it shall not be forwarded to another address l)ut

6 sliall be returned to the State official mailing the fomi. Tlie

7 possession of a registration notification form indicating that

8 the individual is entitled to vote in an election shall be

9 prima facie evidence that the individual is a qualified and
10 registered elector entitled to vote in any such election l)ut
3 1 presentation of the form sliall not be required to cast his
12 ballot.

i;} " (d) Eegistration forms shall be prepared in a language

14 other than EngUsh when a substantial number of the resi-

15 dents of a post office deUvery area use another language.

16 "§406. Distribution of Registration Forms

17 " (a) The Administration is authorized to enter hito

18 agreements with the Postal Service, with departments and

19 agencies of the Federal Govermnent, and with State officials

20 for the distribution of registration forms in accordance with

21 the provisions of this section.

22 "(b) Any agreement made between the Administration

23 and the Postal Service shall provide for the preparation by

24 the Administration of sufficient quantities of registration

25 forms so that the Postal Service can deliver registration

1 forms to each postal address in the United States for tlie

2 number of individuals at that address who ma}^ be qualified
8 electors and for the preparation of an ample (juantity of such

4 forms for pubhc distribution at any post office, postal sub-

5 station, postal contract station, or on any rural or star route.
G "(c) The Postal Service shall distribute the registration

7 forms to postal addresses not earlier than forty-five days or

8 later than thirty days prior to the close of registration for the

9 next biennial general Federal election in each political juris-
10 diction in any State,

n "(tl) The Administration is authorized to enter into

32 agreements with the Secretary of each MiUtary Depai'tment

i;] of the Armed Forces of the United States for the disiribu-

1-i tion of reoistration forais at militarv installations.
15 "(e) This section shall not be construed to place any

Iti time limit upon the general availabiUty of registration forms

17 in post offices and appropiiate Federal, State, and local gov-

18 ernment offices pursuant to agreements made under this

19 section.

20 "§407. Prevention of Fraudulent Registration

21 "(<t) 111 addition to taking any appropriate action un-

22 der State law, whenever a State official has reason to be-

23 lieve that individuals who are not qualified electors are
2^ attempting to register to vote under the provisicms of this
25 chapter, he may notify the Administration and request its



1 assistance to prevent fraudulent registration. Tlie Adrninis-

2 tration shall give such reasonable and expeditious assistance

3 as it deems appropriate in such cases, and shall issue a re-

4 port on its findings.

5 ''(b) Whenever the Administration or a State official

6 determines that there is a pattern of fraudulent registration,

7 attempted fraudulent registration, or any activity on the

8 part of any individuals or groups of individuals to register

9 individuals to vote who are not qualified electors, the Ad-

10 ministration or a State official may request the Attorney

11 General to bring action under this section. The Attorney

12 General is authoiized to bring a civil action in any appro-
i:; priate district court of the United States or the United
1^ States District Court for the District of Columbia to secure
^^ an order to prevent fraudulent registration.

16 "§ 408. Penalties

1'^ " (a) Whoever knowingly or willfully gives false in-

18 formation as to his name, address, residence, age, or other

19 information for the purposes of establishing his efigibility

20 to register or vote under this chapter, or conspires with

21 another individual for the purpose of encouraging his false

22 registration to vote or illegal voting, or pays or oft'ers to

23 pay or accepts or oft'ers to accept payment either for regis-
2"^ tration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than
25 $10,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.



1 "(b) Any person who deprives, or attempts to deprive,

2 any other person of any right under this chapter shall be

3 fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than

4 five years, or both.

5 " (c) The provisions of section 1001 of title 18, United
e States Code, are applicable to the registration form prepared

7 under section 405 of this chapter.

8 "§409. Financial Assistance

9 "(a) The Administration shall determine the fair and

10 reasonable cost of processing registration forms prescribed

11 under this chapter, and shall pay to each appropriate State

12 an amount equal to such cost per card multiplied by the num-

13 her of registration cards processed under this chapter in

14 that State.

15 "(b) The Administration is authorized to pay any State

16 which adopts the registration form and system prescribed by

17 this chapter as a form and system of registration to be a

18 qualified and registered elector for State elections in that

19 State. Payments made to a State under this subsection may

20 not exceed 30 per centum of the amount paid that State

21 under subsection (a) of this section for the most recent gen-

22 eral Federal election in that State.

23 "(c) Payments under this section may be made in in-

24 stallments and in advance or by way of reimbursement, with



1 necessary adjustments on account of overpayments or under-

2 payments.

3 "§410. Regulations

4 "The Administration is authorized to issue rules and reg-

5 ulations for the administration of this chapter."

6 (b) The table of chapters of title 13, United States

7 Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the follow-

8 ing:

"11. Voter Kegistration Administration 401".

9 Sec. 3. (a) Section 3202 (a) of title 39, United States

10 Code, is amended —

11 (1) by striking out "and" at the end of clause

12 (4) ;

13 (2) by striking out the period at the end of clause

14 (5) and inserting in lieu thereof "; and"; and

15 (3 ) by adding at the end thereof :

16 " (6) mail relating to voter registration pursuant to

17 sections 405 and 406 of title 13."

18 (b) Section 3*206 of title 39, United States Code, is

19 amended by adding the following new subsection :

20 " (d) The Voter Registration Administration shall

21 transfer to the Postal Service as postal revenues out of any

22 appropriations made to the Administration for that purpose

23 the equivalent amount of postage, as determined by the



1 Postal Service, for penalty mailings under clause (6) of

2 section 3202 (a) of this title."

3 (c) Section 404 of title 39, United States Code, is

4 amended —

5 (1) by striking out ''and" at the end of clause

6 (8);

7 (2) by striking out the period at the end of clause

8 (9) and inserting in lieu thereof "; and"; and

9 (3) by adding at the end thereof the following

10 new clause:

11 "(10) to enter into arrangements with the Voter

12 Registration Administration, Bureau of the Census, for

13 the collection, delivery, and return delivery of voter reg-

14 istration forms."

15 Sec. 4. Section 5316 of title 5, United States Code,

16 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new

17 paragraph :

18 " ( 132) Administrator and Associate Administrators

19 (2), Voter Eegistration Administration, Bureau of the

20 Census."

21 Sec. 5. There are authorized to be appropriated such

22 sums as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this

23 Act.

91-577 O — 73-


93d congress

1st Session



January 18,1973

Mr, Kennedy (for himself, Mr. Bible, Mr. Eagleton, Mr. Gravel, Mr. Hart,
Mr. Hughes, Mr. Humphrey, Mr. Magnuson, Mr. Moss, Mr. Muskie. Mr.
Stevens, and Mr. Williams) introduced the following bill ; which was read
twice and referred to the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service


To amend title 13, United States Code, to establish within the
Bureau of the Census a Voter Registration Administration to

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on PostVoter registration. Hearings, Ninety-third Congress, first session, on S. 352 and S. 472. Feb. 7, 8, and March 16, 1973 → online text (page 1 of 28)