I was disappointed in your short piece on voting ("Getting Out the Vote," StateStats, March 2007), in which you were largely dismissive of efforts to increase voter turnout.
To begin with, you state that the National Voter Registration Act has had only a slightly positive effect on voting. But you miss the critical point that most states have been woefully inadequate in implementing NVRA.
Though the Motor Voter provision of the law is widely implemented, states largely ignore the provisions that require that they also incorporate voter registration into the services offered by public assistance agencies. States initially made good efforts, but the number of public assistance agency registrations dropped from 2.5 million in 1995-96 to 1 million in 2003-04, with several states experiencing declines of more than 80 percent. A report prepared by Demos, Project Vote, and ACORN, "Ten Years Later: A Promise Unfulfilled," details the ways in which states have failed to meet their obligations (while pointing out great gains in a few states.)
Recently, some states have recognized this shortcoming and are implementing serious NVRA implementation programs....