A voter registration drive is a campaign to register eligible voters. Such efforts are particularly common in countries such as the United States, where there are significant populations of unregistered, eligible voters. Voter registration drives may be nonpartisan or partisan. Since voting is seen both as a basic right of citizenship and a duty, nonpartisan groups routinely seek to register new voters to expand the franchise and elevate voter turnout rates. Partisan groups may also undertake voter registration drives on behalf of parties or individual candidates. These campaigns typically seek to increase voter numbers among specific populations likely to support the group’s candidates.
During the 1950s and 1960s in the United States, one aspect of the civil rights movement aimed to register African Americans who had previously been disenfranchised by a series of state laws. For instance, in Mississippi in 1964, only 6.7 percent of eligible African Americans were registered to vote. After successive voter registration drives, that figure rose to 66.5 percent in 1969.Voter registration drives are also common in new democracies as the government and civic society groups endeavor to educate citizens about the importance of voting and political participation.
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