Easier Access to Ballot Is Pushed by Democrats

In the 1990s, Republican strongholds like Idaho and Wyoming instituted Election Day registration. The National Conference of State Legislatures says that while little evidence of in-person voter fraud has been found, voter turnout in states with Election Day registration has been at least 10 percent higher than in states without it.

“Historically, this kind of work has been supported by Republican and Democratic states,” said Steven Carbó, state advocacy director for Demos. “There is no objective reason why we can’t be back at that point.”

Online registration has retained some measure of bipartisan support. The South Carolina Legislature unanimously approved it this year (although, in California, the vote broke along strict party lines).

But Election Day registration has become the exclusive province of Democrats. Since 1996, only four states have approved Election Day registration, and in each case it was a Democratic governor who signed the bill into law. Republican lawmakers in Maine and Montana have tried unsuccessfully to repeal their longstanding Election Day registration laws.