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Voter group closes

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Vote for America, a national nonprofit based in New York City that aims to get more Americans to vote, has closed its offices in North Carolina and Georgia.

The continuing economic slump and a growing focus on the 2004 elections made it tough to raise money to support the two offices, says Rebecca Lieberman, founder and chair, who stepped down as executive director in April to work as a fundraiser in the presidential campaign of her father, Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

Susan Hansell, who joined the North Carolina office as executive director in 2002 after serving as executive director of Good Work, a Durham nonprofit that helps would-be entrepreneurs acquire basic business skills, now is working on a contract basis for the N.C. Progress Board. She is helping the board develop three citizen assemblies that will convene North Carolinians to talk about statewide issues.

The North Carolina effort in 2002 recruited more than 400 volunteers and secured more than 3,000 pledges to vote, says Daedre Levine, executive director of Vote for America.

In the mid-term elections in 2002, she says, 37.54 percent of voting-age North Carolinians voted, up from 34.95 percent in the previous mid-term elections in 1998.

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