Groups aims to boost voting

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — A national nonprofit that wants to get more Americans to the polls is opening a North Carolina office.

Vote for America, formed two years ago to increase voting in Rhode Island, aims to get 150,000 more North Carolinians to vote this fall, says Betsy Mullins, chief operating officer.

That would be up 5 percent from 1998, the state’s last off-year elections, when three-fourths of eligible voters were registered and 35 percent of eligible voters voted, Mullins says.

Based in New York City and headed by Rebecca Lieberman, daughter of Democratic U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the nonpartisan group will create a statewide steering committee of 150 members, asking members to recruit five “fellows,” each fellow to recruit at least 10 “captains” and each captain to recruit at least 20 voters.

Vote for America, which will provide information on voting and candidates, also is opening a Georgia office this year, plans to add up to four Midwestern states plus a “megastate” — California, Florida, Illinois, New York or Texas– in 2004, and work in more than 25 states in 2006.

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