Anti-Democratic Backlash: Surge in Voter Registration Sparks New Wave of Voter Suppression

Voter registration applications continue to pour into elections offices across the country at record breaking rates, contributing to unprecedented turnout over the course of the presidential primary season so far. The closely contested primaries, especially on the Democratic side, are one factor behind the surge. Another includes a spark of political interest in young people. Whatever factors are involved, the bottom line is that more Americans are engaging in the electoral process. This reality of exploding participation in American democracy should be closely considered by lawmakers when evaluating legislation that could expand or restrict access to the polls this November.

"This year's presidential battle has brought a record [number] of voters to the polls. So far, primaries in 23 states and the District of Columbia have broken turnout records for at least one party," Martha T. Moore of USA Today reported this week. Primary turnout this year "is on pace to eclipse the record set in 1972, when nearly 26% of eligible citizens cast ballots," Curtis Gans, director of Center for the Study on the American Electorate at American University, told Moore.

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