How It’s New York:  Since the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, more than 2.5 million newly naturalized U.S. citizens have become eligible to vote; approximately 15% live in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metro area. [1]

How It’s Irish-1:  An estimated 4,500 of these new voters were born in Ireland.
How It’s Irish-2:  Both major party Vice Presidential candidates have recent Irish-American lineage, along with President Barack Obama’s more distant roots in Moneygall, Co. Offaly.
How It’s Irish-3:  The video is part of “The American Voter 2012” series, a 2-month run of columns and videos by Hall Institute of Public Policy Press Director L.E. McCullough spotlighting how we vote and why — published at the Institute’s weekly newsletter at

The conventions are over now, but the campaign is going on– big time! And there’s more to being a citizen than sharing funny things on Facebook. Get out the vote! Thanks to L.E. McCullough for presenting info on this “new voting video.” Larry points out that: 

Currently, out of 169 nations, the U.S. ranks 120th in turnout of its registered voters … a percentage slightly above Benin, slightly below Dominican Republic. [5]

Come on, we can do better than that! Here Larry shares with us the first of a video series on voting.

To encourage the large number of first-time voters in exercising their new voting rights, two nonpartisan organizations have created a 5-minute video voting promo —

 “What Happens When You Go to Votein New Jersey:  A Step by Step Guide”

The video was produced by the Hall Institute of Public Policy and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey and can be shared, linked to and downloaded for free.

 (EDITOR’S NOTE: We embedded the first one below, but watch the others at the Hall Institute’s Site or on YouTube!)


Though the video pertains only to New Jersey, during the last year 41 states have made significant voting rule changes, especially with regard to the personal ID needed to vote at the polling place. [2]

Voters are urged to check the voting registration and ID requirements in their state at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission site.
Additional information about the expected impact of the new voting laws is found in a recent studypublished by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law:  Voting Law Changes in 2012[3]and in a Hall Institute of Public Policy report:  How Will the Voter ID Controversy Impact the 2012 Elections? [4]
“We have found that a surprising number of registered, first-time voters are reluctant to cast a ballot because they are unsure of what actually happens when they step inside the polling place,” says Hall Institute Executive Director Michael P. Riccards. “This video shows how simple and quick the procedure really is.”
Currently, out of 169 nations, the U.S. ranks 120th in turnout of its registered voters … a percentage slightly above Benin, slightly below Dominican Republic. [5]
Factoring in the larger non-voting but eligible U.S. population, that translates to only about 47 million of the nation’s approximately 236 million adults deciding who receives the power to govern the United States of America.
One in five making the laws for all the rest.
Will that be the calculus of American Democracy in the 21stcentury?
# # #

[1]  “Naturalization Fact Sheet”. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services site.
[2]  Overall, 32 states have some form of voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.[See list here]
[3]  Voting Law Changes in 2012 by Wendy R. Weiser and Lawrence Norden. 2012:  Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
[4]How Will the Voter ID Controversy Impact the 2012 Elections?” by Lawrence Ervin McCullough. Sept. 7, 2012:  Hall Institute of Public Policy newsletter. 
[5]  Assessing voter turnout from 1945-2001, a report from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance ranks America at No. 120 among the world’s 169 nations. The U.S. had an average of 66.5% of its eligible voters cast a ballot during those six decades … a percentage slightly above Benin, slightly below Dominican Republic, way below Lesotho (72.1%) Namibia (78.6%), Albania (88.0%) Cambodia (90.3%, Uzbekistan and Singapore (93.5%) and Australia (No. 1 at 94.5%). 

About the Author

L.E. McCULLOUGH ( is a musician, composer and playwright who has been performing and teaching traditional Irish music on tinwhistle and flute since 1972, authoring The Complete Irish Tinwhistle Tutor, Favorite Irish Session Tunes, The AMIC Music Industry Guide, St. Patrick Was a Cajun and the instructional video Learn to Play Irish Tinwhistle. He has composed filmscores for three PBS specials produced by WQED-TV (Alone Together, A Place Just Right, John Kane) and three Celtic Ballets co-composed with T.H. Gillespie and Cathy Morris (Connlaoi’s Tale: The Woman Who Danced On Waves, The Healing Cup: Guinevere Seeks the Grail, Skin Walkers: The Incredible Voyage of Mal the Lotus Eater). He has recorded on 49 albums, with Irish, French, Cajun, Latin, blues, jazz, country, bluegrass and rock ensembles for Angel/EMI, Sony Classical, RCA, Warner Brothers, Kicking Mule, Rounder, Bluezette and others — including scores for the Ken Burns PBS television series The West, Lewis and Clark, The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, The Dust Bowl, The Roosevelts and the Warner Bros. film Michael Collins. His recent playwriting commissions include works on World War II journalist Ernie Pyle, 1920s jazz artist Charlie Davis, corporate patriarch Eli Lilly, Catholic activist Dorothy Day, singer-heiress Libby Holman and, for the National Constitution Center, a play on the U.S. Constitution.