STATEMENT: Election Day Registration A Success in 2006

Release Date: 
February 22, 2007

New York, NY — More than three-quarters of a million Americans were able to cast their ballot in November 2006 because of Election Day Registration (EDR), according to a new report published this week by Demos.

Voters Win with Election Day Registration demonstrates that, election after election, EDR is highly successful in boosting voter participation in the seven states where it is in place (Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, New Hampshire, Wyoming and Montana) and that it should be central to any state or federal attempts to reform our voting system. By counteracting arbitrary registration deadlines, allowing voters to cast a ballot when they may have been mistakenly purged from the roles, and enabling more mobile voters to vote regardless of having recently changed addresses, EDR significantly enhances the ability of eligible Americans to register and cast their vote.

Key Findings of Voters Win with Election Day Registration:

* Data from state and county election officials in EDR states show that over 746,000 individuals registered and voted on Election Day. These votes comprised almost 13 percent of the ballots reported in EDR states. (Maine does not report this data, but estimated figures would push the participation number well over 750,000.)
* In the seven states where EDR is currently used, voter turnout rates are consistently 10 to 12 percentage points higher, on average, than in states that do not offer Election Day Registration.
* Five EDR states made the list of top 10 voter turnout states in 2006 (Minnesota, Montana, Maine, Wisconsin and Wyoming).

The Voters Win report also shows that legislative momentum on EDR continues to grow. There are currently efforts to make EDR a reality in 21 states, including Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Michigan and Washington. There are also opportunities to make EDR a national reform possibility.

As Congressional debate on elections begins in earnest, Demos strongly encourages lawmakers to consider including EDR in legislation as a pivotal modernizing reform.

"It is clear by now that too many eligible voters have no voice in our democracy because of arbitrary voter registration cut-off dates and arcane election procedures," said Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and former Secretary of the State of Connecticut. "EDR has been law in some states as long as 30 years, and it consistently works. All states should have voters' concerns at the center of any debate on election reform, and Election Day Registration should be a top priority."

For more information or to download a copy of the Voters Win with Election Day Registration report, visit archive.demos.org.

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