In North Carolina, where Democrats are hoping to make a splash up and down the ballot this cycle, voter registration particularly among self-described independents has increased dramatically since the last presidential election, a trend likely to continue in the coming weeks. According to North Carolina State Board of Elections data, voter registration has jumped from 5.07 million in May 2004 to more than 6 million today, a 20 percent increase.
Presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is making the state a high-profile target this cycle, as are House and Senate Democrats, who are spending millions of dollars targeting incumbents Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) and Rep. Robin Hayes (R).
The list of possibly affected states also includes the perennial political battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.
Wendy Weiser, a voting rights expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, agrees with Rodriguezs and Feinsteins calls to reschedule the agencys network outage, writing on her blog last week that it will seriously impair the ability of states to process new voter registrations before the November 4 election. Weiser also cited research by her organization showing that the shutdown may disproportionately affect older, African-
American, and low-income registrants.
In every election, there is a huge spike in voter registrations in the period right before the voter registration deadline, Weiser wrote. Florida, for example, typically receives between 13 and 20 percent of its new voter registrations in the week before the deadline.
Weiser told Roll Call on Tuesday she doubts that higher-ups at the agency are acting politically by shrugging off requests to delay the shutdown until after the election, saying that the Social Security Administrations intentions are OK but that the computer work could lead to problems, particularly in states with onerous polling-place requirements.
There will be a lot of collateral problems with not getting processed, Weiser said.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.