Rock the Vote Testimony at U.S. Senate Hearing Examining Restrictive Voting Laws

The following is a brief statement from Rock the Vote President Heather Smith’s testimony at the U.S. Senate Hearing examining the recent outbreak of new state voting laws that threaten to disenfranchise voters. The hearing is being held Thursday, September 8, at 2:00 pm EST in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

Rock the Vote President Heather Smith’s Statement:

“Unfortunately, too many young Americans are left out of the political process because of outdated and restrictive voter registration practices and barriers encountered when trying to cast a ballot. These problems are escalating in states where politicians are actively making it harder to participate by enacting laws that eliminate election day registration, reduce the early voting window, require identification to vote that many young people do not already have, and placing unnecessary restrictions on the activities of third party voter registration organizations like Rock the Vote. All of this is being done at a time when young voter participation is on the rise, something we should be encouraging, not trying to stop.

Based on current US Census figures, it is estimated that approximately 12,500 Americans turn 18 every single day, and yet there is no systematic way in our country to register them to vote. Our country, our democracy, relies on 3rd party organizations to do this work.

For interviews with Heather Smith, or a complete copy of the written testimony please contact

About Rock the Vote |

Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build political power for young people in our country. Using music, popular culture, new technologies and grassroots organizing for more than 20 years, Rock the Vote has registered more than 5 million young people, including a record- shattering 2.5 million registration downloads in the historic 2008 election. In 2010, Rock the Vote logged nearly 300,000 voter registration downloads as part of the largest midterm election outreach strategy in our organization’s history. As the tidal wave of Millennial generation voters continues to establish its power at the polls, Rock the Vote will register millions more young people and make their voices heard. In 2011, Rock the Vote is leading the charge toward making our electoral process more accesible to young people through our high school civics program, Democracy Class, by rallying young people to stop unfair registration laws, and preparing for our largest voter engagement campaign ever in 2012.