News Update: Utah Gov’s Bipartisan Commission Unanimously Recommends Voter Registration Modernization to and registration.

Voter Registration Modernization:
How it Works

Election officials, experts and policymakers agree: our voter registration system urgently needs an upgrade. The system is a patchwork relic of the 19th century. It’s costly, inefficient and unreliable, overwhelming election officials with needless paperwork and expense and blocking millions of eligible American citizens from exercising their fundamental right to vote. Our outdated and cumbersome voter registration system is the single largest cause of election problems for voters and election officials.

There is a Better Way

Bringing registration into the 21st century is a commonsense, cost-efficient way to improve our voting infrastructure.

  • We must transition from old systems that rely on the inefficiencies of paper voter registration applications, to a more automated system that registers eligible voters and keeps them on the rolls as they move from place to place.
  • A modern system will be less costly for taxpayers, simpler for voters and less burdensome for election officials, while also being less susceptible to voter registration fraud.

There is a More Efficient Way

Building on the recent implementation of statewide voter registration databases across the country, we can move all of America to a 21st-century registration system.

A modern voter registration system will enable election officials to use secure government databases to automatically update voter registration rolls for eligible – and only for eligible – Americans. Dramatically reducing paperwork means lower costs, fewer chances for mistakes and fewer opportunities for misconduct. Automatically adding voters to the rolls will eliminate the data entry mistakes, duplicates and inherent inefficiencies of our paper-based system. A modern registration system will ensure that countless Americans no longer risk being kicked off the rolls when they move or change their name. Unlike the current burdensome system, registration will follow voters as they move.

There is a Way to Make the Process Simpler for Voters

Voter registration modernization will simplify the process for new eligible voters as well. Upon turning 18 or becoming a naturalized citizen, Americans will be automatically added to registration lists according to information already maintained in existing government lists. New voters and those who have moved or changed their legal names will be able to participate in the electoral process without overstressing election budgets and staffs. Modernization eliminates the last-minute deluge of registration applications that cause countless administration problems in the final days and weeks before elections.

Modernization also puts failsafe mechanisms in place to ensure that eligible voters can correct any errors or omissions before Election Day or, if necessary, at the polls. The need for this backstop will be rare in an upgraded system, but will ensure that no eligible American is disenfranchised due to administrative errors.

There is a Way to Prevent Voter Registration Fraud

In our current system, anyone may fill out a registration card. One does not need to look any further than the 2008 election when registration forms bearing the names of Mickey Mouse or Dick Tracy were turned in by voter registration groups across the country. Those who commit fraud should be punished, but we should also take away the means of committing voter registration fraud. Modernizing voter registration to a system that is automatic and permanent will make it unnecessary for third-party groups to register voters. Eliminating false voter registration forms and streamlining the process will not only take a weight off the shoulders of election officials, but it will also save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.