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CSPG Report: Voter Registration Declines in Many States

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A new report released by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance was released today that finds – contrary to press accounts of a surge in voter registration across the country – that a large number of states have seen their voter rolls decline or flatten since the 2004 election.

From the report:

A comparison of official voter registration records in the fall of 2004 with those in the fall of 2008 reveals the following:
• Registration has not improved in nearly half of the uncontested states.
• Registration has increased in nearly all of the states targeted by the campaigns.
• More Democrats than Republicans have been registered in targeted states.

Voter registration stagnated or declined in many of the states that have not been intensely contested in the presidential election. Thirteen of the thirty-three states and District of Columbia that were not targeted saw their registration stagnate or decline between fall 2004 and fall 2008. For instance, registration declined in South Dakota by 5 percent since 2004 and slipped in New York by 2 percent. The crusade to reach out to new voters and bring them into the electoral process has skipped large parts of the country.

Registration in the largest and fastest growing states has been neglected. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the population in Texas expanded by 7 percent between 2004 and 2007, but the voter rolls grew by only 1 percent. Registration also lagged behind population growth in New York and Illinois.

There is a more general pattern: Registration trailed population growth in 17 of 33 uncontested states. What stands out is that many of these states experienced unusually large population growth. Indeed, registration rolls lagged behind population expansion in 6 of the 8 fastest growing states (including Arizona, Utah, North Carolina, and Georgia).

States that are singled out by the presidential campaigns are showered with resources to register voters and the impact is plain: 14 of the 15 most contested states expanded voter registration since 2004.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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