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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

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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 13 of 28)
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local officials' compliance with the most recent
court decisions .

FINDINGS: ORGANIZED CITIZEN INITIATIVE IN REGISTRATION AND
VOTING

Since election officials have so often been unwilling
to support outreach efforts, citizen groups have for many
years tried to fill the void by initiating registration and
voting services which would meet citizens' needs. The data
show, however, that their efforts have often been impeded by
the inefficient and restrictive practices of local election
officials. Interviews with their representatives also show
that citizen organizations recognize problems in the current
election system that the officials tend to overlook.



23



119



THEREFORE, THE ELECTION SYSTEMS PROJECT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS

That citizen organizations add to their present out-
reach programs an aggressive effort to scrutinize
the policies and actions of local election officials
during both election and non-election periods ;

That citizen organizations demand not only a role in
the selection process of the chief local election of-
ficial in their communities but also adequate repre -
sentation of their constituencies on local and state
boards of election where they exist. Where they do
not exist, an effort should be made to create them .

THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES, MASS MEDIA AND EDUCATIONAL
INSTITUTIONS

Although the LWVEF study did not specifically exam-
ine the current role these institutions play in our election
system, based on the overall findings and the experiences of
Committee members, the following recommendations are offered.

Political parties, because of their vital role in a
democratic society have a responsibility to see that
responsive and responsible election officials are
appointed and elected. They must use their consid-
erable influence to insure that election officials
use their discretionary power to aggressively recruit
voters and to allocate available resources in a man-
ner that expands the electorate. Political parties
should further support all efforts to provide ade -
quate funding for local election officials .

Mass media should direct its enormous capabilities
toward both Informing the public of its voting
rights and increasing the visibility and therefore
the public's awareness of the system and administra-
tors through which that right must be exercised .
Such efforts might include a regular newspaper col-
umn devoted to registration and voting information ,
e.g., the requirements of the law, location and of-
fice hours of local registration and polling places ,
announcement of deadlines, etc. Reporters should
cover not just the election but also the operation
of local election systems on election day. OfficTals
should allow reporters access to the polls at any
time during the polling process .



24



120



High schools and colleges, through their curricular
or extracurricular programs, should provide informa-
tion on the legal and administrative requirements
pertaining to the franchise. By this means, not
only can the crucial facts be made known, but a new
regard for the vote as an undeniable right rather
than a privilege might be fostered within every Amer-
ican citizen.



25



121



MEMBERS OF THE ELECTION SYSTEMS PROJECT
ADVISORY COMMITTEE
League of Women Voters Education Fund

Co-Chairmen



Mrs. Fay Williams
Trustee, League of
Education Fund



Women Voters



Hon. Wilson W. Wyatt
Regional Vice President
National Municipal League



Monsignor Geno Baroni , Director
Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs

Charles A. Barr
Director, Political &

Economic Education
Standard Oil Company

Robert L. Bennett
Director, American Indian

Law Center
University of New Mexico

Mrs. Lucy Wilson Benson
Chairman, League of Women
Voters Education Fund

Col. C.K. Blum
Chief, Federal Voting
Assistance Task Force

Earl Blumenauer

Assistant to the President

for Student Affairs
Portland State University

Mrs. Willie Campbell
Chairman, Special Research &

Projects
League of Women Voters

Education Fund

Michael Cole

Executive Director

Youth Citizenship Fund, Inc.



Steven Gal pin

Manager, Community & Govern-
ment Relations
General Electric Company



Donald G. Herzberg
Executive Director
Eagleton Institute

Politics
Rutgers University



of



Benjamin S. Hite
Formerly Director of Elec-
tions, Los Angeles County

Mrs. Dolores C. Huerto
Vice President, United Farm

Organization Committee
AFL-CIO

Miss Barbara Jordan
Member, Texas Senate

Mrs. Charlotte Kemble
Executive Director
Front Lash, Inc.

Dr. Penn Kimball
Graduate School of

Journalism
Columbia University



26



122



John Lewis
Executive Director
Voter Education Project,



Inc.



John Perkins

Assistant Director, Committee

on Political Education
AFL-CIO

Dr. William J. Pierce
Professor of Law
School of Law
University of Michigan

Matthew A. Reese, President
Matt Reese & Associates

John Sayre

Director, Precinct Voting
Republican National Committee
(Formerly Chief of the Fed-
eral Voting Assistance Task
Force)

Richard Scanmon, Director
Elections Research Center

Governor William Scranton
President, National Munici-
pal League

Ms. Althea Simmons
Director for Training

Programs
NAACP

Mrs. Albert Sims
Former President
League of Women Voters
of Connecticut

Dr. Richard Smolka
Editor, Election News
The American University
Institute of Election
Administration



Mrs. Julia Stuart

Member, National Munici-
pal League Counci 1

Former President, League
of Women Voters of the
U.S.

Miss Amalia M. Toro
Election Attorney
Office of the Secretary

of State
Connecticut

Richard F. Treadway
Director, U.S. Department

of Commerce
Boston Business Services

Field Office

Gus Tyler

Director, Politics, Ed-
ucation & Training

International Ladies
Garment Workers Union

Ms. Ann Wexler

Director of Voting Rights

Activities
Common Cause



Staff

Miss Charlene Haykel
Staff Director, Election

Systems Project
League of Women Voters

Education Fund

Richard Carlson

Staff Director, Election

Systems Project
National Municipal League



27



123



PARTICIPANTS IN COMMUNITY SURVEY



Appendix A



City, State



City, State



ALABAMA

Birmingham
Auburn
♦Montgomery
Tuscaloosa
Mob i 1 e

ALASKA

Anchorage

Ketch ikan-Gateway

Kodiak

North-Star Borough (Fairbanks)

ARIZONA

*Gila River Indian Reservation
Phoenix
Tucson
Yuma

ARKANSAS

Pine Bluff
*Pulaski County (Little Rock)
Voter Education Project Texarkana,
Texas

CALIFORNIA

Union City Alameda County
Berkeley
Sacramento
Eureka
Los Angeles

North San Mateo County
Los Gatos
Fresno
Redding
*San Diego
San Francisco
Tulare County



COLORADO

Arapahoe County

Boulder

Craig & Moffat County

Denver

Ft. Collins

Jefferson County

Durango

CONNECTICUT

Branford
Bridgeport Area
Greenwich
*New Haven
West Hartford
Wilton

DELAWARE

Laurel , Greater
Wilmington, Greater

FLORIDA

Clearwater Area
Dade County
Hillsborough County
Sarasota County
Tallahassee

GEORGIA

Atlanta-Fulton County

Augusta

Macon

Savannah

HAWAII

Honolulu
Hawaii County



* For purposes of this report, data from these communities are not in-
cluded in the analysis.



28



124



City, State



City, State



IDAHO

♦Boise
Idaho Falls
Lewis ton
Pocatello

ILLINOIS

♦Chicago
Highland Park
Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills-Oak

Brook
Morgan County
Peoria
Springfield
Edwardsville

INDIANA

Bloomington

Gary

Indianapolis

South Bend

Fort Wayne-Allen County

Lafayette, Greater

Porter County

Seymour

IOWA

Algona

Des Moines

Keokuk

Mt. Pleasant

Scott County (Davenport)

Sioux City

Waterloo-Cedar Falls

KANSAS

Emporia

Hays

Parsons

Shawnee-Mission

Wichita



KENTUCKY

Boone, Campbell, Kenton

Counties
Lexington
Louisville and Jefferson

County
Richmond

LOUISIANA

Baton Rouge
Jefferson Parish
New Orleans

MAINE

Bangor

♦Lewiston-Auburn
Orono
Portland

MARYLAND

Baltimore City
Baltimore County
Dorchester County
Garrett County
Montgomery County
Prince Georges County

MASSACHUSETTS

Arlington

Boston
♦Fall River
♦Framingham

New Bedford

Northampton

Plymouth-Kingston

Southbridge-Sturbridge



For purposes of this report,
eluded in the analysis.



data from these communities are not in-



29



125



City, State



City, State



MICHIGAN



NEVADA



Allen Park

Alpena County

Copper Country: Houghton and

Ontonagon Counties
Jackson County
Flint

Grand Traverse
Kalamazoo Area
*Mt. Pleasant

MINNESOTA



Carson City
Reno

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Concord
Keene
Littleton
Peterborough

NEW JERSEY



Austin

Roseville

Duluth

Hibbing

Minneapolis

Bloomington

MISSISSIPPI

Jackson

Oxford

Vicksburg-Warren County

MISSOURI

Kansas City
Cape Girardeau County
*Jefferson City-Cole County
Rolla-Phelps County
Springfield
St. Louis

MONTANA

Billings
Helena
Missoula
Ravalli County

NEBRASKA

Kearney
Lincoln
Omaha



Camden County
Cumberland County
Franklin Township
Ridgewood
Morristown Area
Newark
Cranford

NEW MEXICO

Albuquerque
Las Cruces
Santa Fe

NEW YORK

Buffalo

Canton & Potsdam

New Rochelle

New York City

Oyster Bay (L.I.)

Rochester (Monroe County)

Syracuse, Metro Area

Utica

New Paltz

NORTH CAROLINA

Charlotte-Mecklenburg County

Durham

Raleigh-Wake County

Tryon

Watauga County



* For purposes of this report,
eluded in the analysis.



data from these communities are not in-



30



91-577 0—73-



126



City, State



City, State



NORTH CAROLINA (cont'd)

Winston-Salem & Forsyth

County
Eden-Rockingham County

NORTH DAKOTA

Fargo Area
Grand Forks

OHIO

Bowling Green

Cincinnati Area

Cleveland

Columbus, Metropolitan

Dayton Area, Greater

Kent

OKLAHOMA

Bartlesville
Chickasha
Stil Iwater
Tulsa

OREGON

Medford; Jackson County
Central Lane County
Deschutes County
East Washington County
Lake Oswego
Portland

PENNSYLVANIA

Clarion County
Erie County
Lancaster County
Pittsburgh Area
Radnor Township
♦Scranton



SOUTH CAROLINA

♦Charleston
Clemson
Columbia Area
Greenville

SOUTH DAKOTA

Brookings City and County
Rapid City
Vermillion
Yankton County

TENNESSEE

Knoxville and Knox City
*Memphis-Shelby County
Murfreesboro
Nashville

TEXAS

Brazos County

Corpus Christi •

Dallas

El Paso

Lubbock

San Antonio Area

Tarrant County

Houston

UTAH

Cedar City
Ogden-Weber County
Salt Lake City

VERMONT

Champlain Valley (Burlington)

Montpelier

Woodstock



RHODE ISLAND

*Barrington
North Providence



For purposes of this report, data from these communities are not in-
cluded in the analysis.

31



127



City, State



City, State



VIRGINIA

Fairfax Area
Lynchburg

Norfolk-Virginia Beach
Richmond Area

WASHINGTON

*Port Angeles
Seattle
Spokane

Thurston County
Yakima

WEST VIRGINIA

Charleston Area
Huntington Area
Logan County
Morgantown
Wood County
♦Wheeling

WISCONSIN

Dane County
La Crosse

Milwaukee, Greater
Neenah-Menasha
Stevens Point
Superior
Racine
Wisconsin Rapids

WYOMING

Laramee County
Casper
Powell Area

WASHINGTON, D. C.



VIRGIN ISLANDS
St. Thomas



For purposes of this report, data from these communities are not in-
cluded in the analysis.

32



128



Appendix B



PARTICIPANTS IN THE STATE SURVEY (N = 47)



Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho*

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana



Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey*

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyomi ng*



Data from these states were not available for this analy-?
sis.



33



129



Appendix C



Interviews completed:

Government Officials N.^ber of

Interviews

Chief Elections Officer of City 86

Chief Elections Officer of County mp

Mayor "^ ^°

City Manager ^:?

President of City Council gg

Chairman of County Commissioners I75

Party Officials



Democratic Party Chairman 203

Republican Party Chairman 2nn

Third Party Chairman 4-j

Representatives of Citizen Groups

League of Women Voters oin

NAACP f^

Labor Council Jin

Youth Group -^gV

Chamber of Commerce 203

American Legion 144

Non-Black Minority Group 53

total 2234



34



130



Appendix D



Number of Registration Observations



Observations at Permanent Places 299

Observations at Temporary Places 94

Observations at Mobile Units 9

Observations at Unclassified Places 56

total 458



Appendix E



Polling Places Observed:



Ethnic White - Under $5000 37

Ethnic White - $5,000 - $10,000 60

Ethnic White - Over $10,000 47

Nonethnic White - Under $5000 57

Nonethnic White - $5,000 - $10,000 67

Nonethnic White - Over $10,000 70

Spanish Speaking - Under $5000 22

Spanish Speaking - $5,000 $10,000 15

Spanish Speaking - Over $10,000 3

Black - Under $5000 51

Black - $5,000 - $10,000 43

Black - Over $10,000 13

total 484



35



131

COIMUNIQUE— ELECTION SYSTEMS PROJECT

SEPTEMBER 1, 1972 NUMBER 1.

One hundred leaders of the League of Women Voters
from all 50 states met with public interest tacti-
cians August 1 and 2 in Washington, D.C. to brain-
storm strategies and tactics for removing admini-
strative obstacles to voting. The women fired ques-
tions at a panel of "action experts" which included
Ralph Nader, James Blumstein, plaintiff and attor-
ney in the landmark Supreme Court case Dunn v^.
Blumstein, Althea Simmons, director of NAACP train-
ing programs and Barbara Mikulski, Baltimore city
council woman.

The Conference on Expanding the Electorate zeroed
in on what to do about the many inconvenient regis-
tration and voting procedures that often result
from the way election officials exercise their dis-
cretionary power in administering election laws,
such voter problems as insufficient polling places
and hours for registering and voting, broken vot-
ing machines, lack of information about registra-
tion and voting procedures, and inadequately train-
ed election personnel. A comprehensive survey,*
conducted last year by League members in over 257
communities across the country, documented wide-
spread administrative obstacles to voting.

During the conference participants met in small
caucuses to develop possible local campaigns to
get rid of some of these obstacles before the No-
vember election.

THE EXPERTS SAID: MAKE PUBLIC EDUCATION EXCITING

Ralph Nader offered participants several bits of
advice on the use of public education techniques.
To publicize the uncooperative attitude of an elec-

* Publication #206, Administrative Obstacles to
Voting available from the League of Women Voters
Education Fund. Price 60(t.



132



tion official, Nader advised, "Make the election
official famous. I doubt whether they're known to
1 % of the pop ulation." A tactic that can be used:
deluge the official with requests for speeches.
Blanket refusals can be turned into a public issue
and acceptances will, if nothing else, force the
official to confront prospective voters.

The consumer advocate also suggested engaging the
official in a "war of nerves" by presenting him
with a series of petitions, each one doubling the
number of signatures on the last, until he succumbs
to citizen pressure.

In trying to influence a recalcitrant election
official in a small city, Nader said, "At times
the right word from a relative will mean a lot



Conferenoe on Expanding the Electorate

The goal: To devise ways to lower adminis-
trative barriers to registration and voting
- especially during the last few months and
weeks before election.
The time: August 1 and 2, 1972

The Tplaoe: Washington, D.C.

The sponsor: League of Women Voters Educa-
tion Fund



more than a 20-page reasoned treatment. People
just react that way."

Miss Mikulski urged Leagues to publicize registra-
tion and voting issues in unusual ways. "We tend
to be so moralistic and grim that we bore people
to death," she said. The city councilwoman sug-
gested staging guerrilla theater in front of the
board of elections. Local amateur theater groups
could be persuaded to carry out this tactic.



133



In small communities a parade is an effective tool
for making the public aware of the need to regis-
ter and vote. Nader termed it "a communications
system to bind a town together." Most local civic
groups will participate and the patriotic connota-
tion of parades will add to the credibility of a
registration and voting effort. The stage will
thus be set to approach the election official with
the knowledge that the community stands behind you
in wanting election procedures that do not hamper
participation in the election process.

"Make what you're talking about and are concerned
about a public issue. It's only through that public
issue that we're going to be able to do something.
If someone says, *We don't know where the polling
places are' - well, maybe you have to invite the
press to come on a treasure hunt - see who can find
the polling place."

Mr. Blumstein suggested that Leagues set a target
registration rate for "full voter participation"
similar to the full employment rate. Statistics on
a local community could then be reported, publiciz-
ing when a community is below the full participa-
tion rate. League members in several caucuses dis-
cussed the possibility of setting this target rate
at 90%.

THE EXPERTS SAID: ORGANIZE

Miss Simmons, who directed NAACP voter registra-
tion efforts in the last two presidential campaigns,
stressed coalitions as an invaluable tool for the
correction of obstacles to registration and voting.
She suggested looking to churches, civic groups,
social clubs, organizations of barbers and beauti-
cians, and tavern owners as possible resources for
effective coalitions, building up public pressure
from just plain John and Jane Doe. She encouraged
participants to branch out in new directions, to
implement their goals. "Don't be afraid about your
image. If you're trying to make a real impact



134



across the community, you'll find that you get an
entirely different audience that you would not
reach any other way. Any organization can use a
different type of image at some time."

Miss Mikulski pointed out that many hesitate to
join coalitions for fear of losing their own or
their organization's decision-making power. The
issue of autonomy should be frankly discussed at
the first meeting she believes and an accommoda-
tion made. "People come together when it's out of
mutual need and mutual self-interest."

Community leaders are often hard to identify. Miss
Mikulski pointed out. She advised League members
to select the leaders by talking to the people on
every block to determine who the neighborhood
people considers the real leaders. "Leaders are
how they act." And another bit of advice: "Don't
wait until the crisis comes, begin your social map-
ping now."

Speaking from the League point of view, Mrs. Jeanne
Malchon, Election Systems Project chairman, ad-
vised Leagues not to join coalitions in which only
one party is represented in order to preserve the
power stemming from nonpartisanship. Moreover,
Leagues should stay away from coalitions that are
initiated by a single party. And in League-ini-
tiated coalitions to which representatives of both
parties are invited, Mrs. Malchon believes it is
better to wait until both have definitely joined
before their commitments are made public.

Miss Mikulski, who pulled together a unique coali-
tion of blacks and blue-collar workers to wage her
successful campaign for the Baltimore city council,
in speaking of community organization techniques,
had another comment: "A basic strategy in communi-
ty organization is the implied threat." Suggesting
a lawsuit charging an official with dereliction of
duty is one example. But, she reminded League mem-



135



bers, "You cannot expect the big daddies of this
world to pay your way when you challenge the very
system that created the big daddies."

THE EXPERTS SAID: LITIGATE

Litigation usually should be preceded by negotia-
tion with an election official, Blumstein advised.
However, in some circumstances, i.e., where there
is no dispute as to facts and the basis of the
suit is the legality of official action, litiga-
tion can be an effective first step in your cam-
paign. It could serve to give credibility to your
organization and your issue and strengthen future

demands or threats to litigate.

Litigation costs can often be cut by obtaining
free legal help to do the time-consuming legal re-
search. Also, if League members can present an
attorney with a strong public interest case and
evidence such as accurate poll watching reports,
he will often take it on a cost-reimbursement
basis, particularly if the case is potentially
precedent-setting.

Blumstein emphasized the importance of preparing
supporters, especially fellow members of a coali-
tion, for the possibility of losing a case. The
issue must be kept alive and the organization in-
tact, so that an unfavorable court decision does
not legitimate the election official's action.
"Just because it's not unconstitutional doesn't
mean it's not rotten to the core." A coalition
should continue the momentum for reform.

ROUNDTABLE DESCRIBED PROBLEMS

At a roundtable discussion representatives of var-
ious segments of the population detailed the ad-
ministrative obstacles to voting they had encoun-
tered. Septima Clark, long-time Southern Christian
Leadership Conference organizer, spoke from the
black perspective. Michael Harbut of Frontlash,
Inc., discussed problems of newly enfranchised



136



youth. Felix Putterman, president of the Montgomery
County, Maryland, supervisors of elections, spoke
from the viewpoint of the middle-class mobile cit-
izen. Betty Deacon of Baltimore's Southeast Com-
munity Organization outlined the problems facing
blue-collar workers. Carlos Alcala, field organ-
izer for Youth Citizenship Fund, recounted exam-
ples of discrimination faced by Chicanos in El
Paso, Texas, as they attempted to register. John
Chrystal, former Democratic County Chairman of
Green County, Iowa, spoke from the rural perspec-
tive.

OFFICIALS RESPONDED

The problems raised by the roundtable participants
were addressed by a panel of election officials.
Walter Barnett of the Office of Planning and Legis-
lation of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice
Department described what is being done on the fed-
eral level to insure voting rights. Mrs. Dolores
Tucker, Secretary of State of Pennsylvania, out-
lined the role of the state in providing for uni-
form adherence to the state election code by all
local jurisdictions. Don Bonker, County Auditor
in Clark County, Washington, and James Sebesta,
Hillsborough County, Florida, Supervisor of Elec-
tions, demonstrated the ways in which registration
and voting can be facilitated when local officials
are attuned to the needs of the citizens.

SPEAKERS STRESSED LEAGUE ROLE
Mrs. Malchon told participants that the League is
uniquely equipped for the task at hand. She cited
the League's local organizations from coast to
coast, its great store of knowledge gained through
research, its strong organization, and its credi-
bility both with officialdom and the general pub-
lic as invaluable assets for working to eliminate
those administrative practices which effectively
prevent millions of Americans from voting.



137



"We have a great need to do something right now,
because this may be our last opportunity to drag
some of these recalcitrant people into the 20th
century before the 21st is upon us," Mrs. Malchon
challenged.

Countering the concern of a few conference partic-
ipants that some of the stronger tactics suggested
by the action experts would alienate local elec-
tion officials, Mrs. Malchon said, "If we really
have a working relationship with election offi-
cials, we're not going to have to do anything to
upset them. If we do not, I suggest that what we
might have is a superficial cordiality. I think
there would be few of us and few of our members
back home who wouldn't be willing to exchange that
superficial cordiality for some real respect."

In her welcome to conferees. Education Fund chair-


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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 13 of 28)