Voter registration is the gateway to democratic participation. It is a vital function that should be made as frictionless as possible for citizens.
In the interest of fair and equal access, the responsibility to register voters should fall to the government through an automatic, passive process. This may require data coordination across government agencies.
Registration data can be particularly useful in documenting whether communities are underserved by government services. Accurate registration works to prevent ineligible votes, multiple voting, and voter impersonation.
Election Day Registration (EDR)
Also known as “same-day voter registration,” EDR permits eligible citizens to register and vote on Election Day.
EDR significantly increases the opportunity to cast a vote and participate in American democracy. Six states—Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Wyoming—offered EDR in the 2004 presidential election. These states boasted voter turnout that was, on average, 13 percentage points higher than in non EDR states, and reported few problems with fraud, costs, or administrative complexity.
Why Do We Need EDR?
To help Americans vote.
With EDR, all eligible citizens who arrive at the polls have an opportunity to vote, even if their names have been incorrectly removed from voter lists or were not added in time for the election.
To counteract arbitrary registration deadlines.
Thirty-five states cut off voter registration 20 or more days before Election Day, well before many would-be voters focus on election candidates and campaign issues.