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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dean Preston
September 25th, 2012 415.495.8100
Today is National Voter Registration Day, a massive effort to register voters in all 50 states before Election Day. The theme for National Voter Registration Day is simple: Register now, make it count in November. The overarching goal of the project is to drive voter registration and civic engagement. Hundreds of partner organizations are stepping up to play an important role in their communities by driving attention and action around voter registration.
Tenants Together, California's statewide organization for renters' rights, is proud to be a National Voter Registration Day partner. There are 15 million tenants in California and 98 million nationally. Tenants are a huge constituency that can be determinative of any election, but their issues are often ignored.
Tenants face daunting challenges in the current economy. Rents are rising while incomes stagnate. In most cities, landlords can evict or raise rents without any significant limitations. The average California renter must earn $26.02 per hour, that's $54,122 annually, in order to afford the average rent. Slumlords across the state and the nation are not held accountable for unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions. Meanwhile, banks and predatory investors are performing mass evictions of innocent renters from foreclosed properties.
Too often, the struggles of renters are ignored by political leaders who serve the interests of landlords and realtors. "The real estate industry - predatory investors, landlords, realtors and banks - pay a lot of money to politicians to make sure they vote against the interests of struggling tenants." commented Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together. "The real estate industry has the money, but tenants have the numbers. Voter registration and turnout is essential to having a voice in the political process."
In California, the deadline for voter registration is October 22. Tenants Together is urging millions of California Tenants to register before the deadline and to vote in November. The organization is reaching out to members and allies across the state on National Voter Registration Day and encouraging them to sign a pledge to register and vote in the next election. Californians can now register to vote online through the Secretary of State website.