May 30 / Michael Slater

New Policy Paper Examines Online Voter Registration

Policy Paper

Today, Project Vote is pleased to release the latest policy paper in our Issues in Election Administration series, Online Voter Registration.

Online voter registration is a promising and increasingly popular way for states to expand the options available for eligible citizens to register to vote. Properly implemented, systems that allow citizens to register or update their registration information online have the potential to increase the accuracy of the voter rolls, reduce election administration costs, and bring more Americans—particularly underrepresented younger Americans—into the electoral process.

However, election officials must take care to ensure that such systems are designed to maximize the efficiency and impact of online registration. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that online registration may not help all populations equally. Officials should take steps to ensure that the shift towards electronic registration does not leave certain demographics behind and exacerbate existing disparities in the electorate.

Written by Project Vote Election Counsel Michelle Kanter Cohen, Online Voter Registration provides a comprehensive overview of this issue, identifying both the tremendous benefits and potential concerns of online registration.  The paper summarizes the various systems currently in place around the country, and offers reasonable recommendations for how legislators and election officials can best design online systems to reach the greatest number of eligible citizens.

Online voter registration is just one of the election reforms Project Vote and our partners are working to achieve through research, media initiatives, and advocacy efforts. The policy paper is the latest tool in a suite of materials available to assist advocates in this work, which also includes a model bill, model testimony,  talking points, and other items. You can find these materials at http://www.projectvote.org/online-registration.html.

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