Photo by Hatice Yardım on Unsplash

Media landscape analysis: voter registration edition

Which states are pushing voter registration?

This week we're turning to a simple check-in: which states are pushing voter registration? As state primary elections begin to occur across the country, we turned to the news to find out what states are reporting on the matter.

The results:

In the last week's media coverage, a number of battleground states emerge as frontrunners in the voter registration discussion. Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin have all been swing states in the past few elections.

The attention to voter registration in these states is a logical first step in the effort for each party to attract more voters. Republicans, frustrated by the presidential results in 2020, will be pushing heavily to gain voters to flip the White House in 2024, while Democrats have a more urgent quest: the victory of the GOP in 2020 gave many states a Republican advantage that Democrats seek to undo.

We also see California, New Jersey, and Mississippi rounding out our top ten this week.

California makes voter registration headlines with an upcoming recall vote for Governor Gavin Newsom. The Calif. Sec of State has urged all residents to vote in the special September vote, and as the event looms closer, groups are pushing voter registration more than ever.

New Jersey makes the news - though not too much attention on the social networks - after the Department of Justice settled a voting rights lawsuit with the state. The department's lawsuit stated that the state's disability transportation programs had failed to provide adequate voter registration opportunities for disabled residents. The result of the lawsuit? New Jersey plans to "robustly" implement new policies to provide those registration opportunities.

Interestingly, in a political era where voting reform is an extremely hot topic, New Jersey is the only state in this top ten where registration reform is at the heart of the news content. We do see registration reform discussed sporadically in a few of the swing states, but the general consensus in media points to registration under the current systems.

Finally, Mississippi slides into the top ten as newspapers and journals continue to pay their respects to the late Bob Moses, voting rights activist.

Voting accessibility in all aspects - number of polling places, early voting opportunities, absentee voting availability, registration requirements, etc. - remains prominent in public discussion with the Voting Rights Act in limbo and demonstrations from state Democrats at the Capitol Building urging voting action. As the situation continues to unfold, particularly if federal voting legislation passes, it will be interesting to see how that reverberates across the country in state-level legislation.

It's a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg situation: which comes first, pushing voter registration for an electorate that will vote for legislators that prioritize voting legislation, or passing voting legislation that will create more ample opportunities to build that electorate?

We'll see you next week.