Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, when a network of thousands of voting rights and civic engagement groups will aim to add tens of thousands of Americans to the rolls. But despite the day’s non-partisan message, it comes at a time when voter registration has emerged as a major political and legal flash-point. Several red states have run into legal trouble for restrictive policies that make it harder to get or stay registered to vote, while other states, mostly blue, are dramatically expanding access. Coming off a well-received debate performance, Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged supporters in Raleigh, North Carolina—where absentee voting has already begun—to register. “You may or may not know today is National Voter Registration Day,” Clinton said. “I hope you all will, and hope you tell everybody that you know to do the same because we want to make sure people are registered.”
The Clinton campaign sent high-profile surrogates including former President Bill Clinton, running-mate Tim Kaine and Vice President Joe Biden to press the same message in other battleground states. The campaign said it plans to hold 1,400 local voter registration events across the country Tuesday, part of a broader push to register or commit 3 million voters.
A spokesman for the Donald Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on what the campaign was doing to mark the day.
Meanwhile, fights over voter registration are playing out in the courts — and they could have a big impact this fall. “It’s a shame that on a day when we should all be encouraging registration and making it easier, we have to fight these battles to get states to let people register to vote,” said Dale Ho, the director of the voting rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union, which is involved in several of the cases.