Election Day Registration Up for Debate in California and Maine
The opportunity to register to vote and cast a ballot on the most politically charged day of the year–Election Day–is being considered and reviewed in two states.
Last week, the California Senate adopted a bill to allow citizens to register and vote at county election offices on Election Day.
Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Monterey Park) said the bill would help increase voter participation in the state that ranks 41st in the nation for voter turnout, according to the Associated Press.
Nine states currently implement Election Day Registration policies, many of which boast voter turnout rates that are 10-12 percent above the national average. Despite these gains, Republican leaders in Maine are pushing a bill to eliminate the state’s decades-old same-day voter registration law in order to “ease the workload of town clerks,” wrote Steve Mistler at the Sun Journal.
Critics of the bill say it is a partisan effort to gain electoral advantage since the policy–most popular among citizens with disabilities, the elderly, and youth–has allowed more than 68,000 Mainers to register and vote on Election Day.
“The AARP testified against the bill, saying it could prevent some seniors from voting because it would require them to get to town hall twice, rather than once,” wrote Mistler. “In addition to same-day registration and absentee voting, LD 1376 changes the deadline that registrations can be submitted by third-party organizations that mobilize voters.”