Voting groups report surge in registrations after death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Many Americans signed up to vote after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week, according to multiple voter registration organizations. 

Vote.org said it saw 40,771 new registrations on the weekend that followed Ginsburg's death on Sept. 18, a 68% increase over the previous Saturday and Sunday. And the group said it received 35,288 requests for mail-in ballots, a 42% jump from the weekend before. 

"Following Justice Ginsburg's passing, the significant uptick in interactions with Vote.org's registration and mail ballot resources, culminating in record numbers on National Voter Registration Day, speaks to an energy among Americans who want to make sure their voices are heard this election," Vote.org CEO Andrea Hailey said in a statement. "

Carolyn DeWitt, president of Rock the Vote, told CNBC her organization experienced a similar surge. 

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"I do think that the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has galvanized eligible voters, in particular, who understand the role of the Supreme Court and are concerned about the future of civil rights," DeWitt said. 

Ginsburg's death came just ahead of Voter Registration Day, when Rock the Vote, NextGen America and When We All Vote – a voter engagement organization co-chaired by former first lady Michelle Obama – all broke previous registration records, according to CNN. When We All Vote reported more than 82,000 voters started or completed the registration process from Saturday to Thursday.

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Filling Ginsburg's seat on the bench has become a hotly debated partisan issue heading into the Nov. 3 election. Eighty percent of likely voters in a recent Economist/YouGov poll said the choice of the next justice is personally important to them. When asked if the seat should be filled right away by Trump or if he should wait for the election results, 83% of Democrats said the seat should be left vacant for the election winner, while 80% of Republicans said Republicans should fill the seat now. 

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Despite the reported registrations surge related to Ginsburg's death, voter registration is dramatically down from 2016, according to a recent study from the Brennan Center for Justice. The study attributed the decline to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 in the U.S. 

The study, released Monday, found voter registration had plummeted an average of 38% in 17 of 21 states that in analyzed. The levels varied dramatically by state, with some down only slightly – such as in Wisconsin, which was down 2% relative to 2016 – and others down significantly, such as Maryland, where registration was down four of the states – Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, and Utah – saw a rise in registrations. 

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