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Leagues Register A Record Number of New Citizens in 2018

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The United States welcomes approximately 700,000 – 750,000 new citizens every year through naturalization ceremonies in communities across the country. As anyone who has ever attended a naturalization ceremony can attest, the experience is like no other.

In 2018, an election year that saw record voter turnout, the League of Women Voters Education Fund provided support to 18 Local Leagues in 17 different states via the New Citizens Voter Registration project. These Leagues attended a total of 762 naturalization ceremonies and collectively registered over 28,000 new citizens, far surpassing numbers achieved in previous years. If a new citizen didn’t register to vote on the spot, they were likely a recipient of one of over 5,000 blank registration applications sent home to complete later.

New Citizen Voter Registration

The League of Women Voters is proud and honored to be one of the few organizations that register new citizens on site at naturalization ceremonies throughout the United States. Many Leagues have been registering new citizens in their communities for decades. Because of its long-time presence at ceremonies across the nation, the League is often the first voting resource new citizens encounter and registering to vote has become part of the celebration.

When a new citizen approaches the registration table, they are kindly met by a League member or volunteer ready to provide crucial, non-partisan election information and walk any eligible new voter through a registration application. Once registered, many new citizens continue to receive Get Out The Vote reminders, additional voting resources, and follow-up registration assistance from the League.

New Citizen Voter Registration

This year, in addition to helping register a record number of new voters in 2018, 853 League volunteers dedicated 6,600 hours of their time to inform, assist, and engage with over 47,000 new citizens at the ceremonies nationwide. Nearly 40,000 educational materials were distributed, and countless conversations were had about the electoral process and the importance of participating in our democracy.

The League of Women Voters Education Fund launched the first nationwide New Citizens Voter Registration project in 2012 with the goal of further engaging with members of traditionally underrepresented communities, including new citizens, via voter registration activities. Through this project, participating Leagues have registered over 71,000 new citizens and engaged with almost 145,000 individuals, encouraging all to participate in our democracy by exercising their most fundamental civil right; voting. Throughout the years, grantees have reported, with great enthusiasm, intentions to continue this critical work. One of this year’s grantees, Mary Jo McDonald of the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County, wrote, “All agree that this is a day that provides a wonderful feeling of celebration for all involved.” Indeed.

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