New Study Finds Major Structural Barriers To Voting For Naturalized Citizens

Demos, a New York-based think tank, released a new study this week on how impediments to voting affect native-born citizens and naturalized citizens differently. Though registered voters in the two groups turned out to vote at similar levels, there is a significant gap in registration rates. In 2010, for example, two of every three native citizens were registered, compared to just half of naturalized citizens. Examining this chasm, Demos found that “structural barriers to registration – such as restrictive requirements and lack of language access — are a key factor in why naturalized citizens remain registered at lower rates.” Unregistered naturalized citizens were 20 percentage points more likely than unregistered native citizens – 57 percent to 37 percent – to cite structural obstacles as the reason they had not registered to vote.