Election Day Registration Best Practices: An Implementation Guide

Election Day Registration Best Practices: An Implementation Guide

July 1, 2010
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Election Day Registration (EDR) is a variety of Same Day Registration (SDR) that allows eligible voters to register and cast a ballot on Election Day. This “how-to guide” on EDR implementation and administration distills election officials’ first-hand insights into the effective implementation of EDR. We focused here on key issues such as poll worker recruiting and training, avoiding confusion and congestion at the polls, serving special populations, and preserving the integrity of elections.

Dēmos conducted initial telephone surveys of state and local election officials in the six states with the most experience with Election Day Registration: Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The jurisdictions ranged in size from small localities to densely populated urban areas. We were careful to include areas with substantial college populations in order to assess any challenges presented by this particularly mobile voter population.
 
Our research shows that voter turnout in states with Same or Election Day Registration was 7 percentage points higher than other states in the 2008 presidential election. Voting rates in EDR states have historically exceeded those in other states by 10 to 12 percentage points.
 
Our research also shows that implementation of Election Day Registration is relatively simple and cost-effective. In fact, election officials report that EDR actually makes the election process easier to administer, as it reduces or eliminates pre-deadline surges in registration and provisional balloting on Election Day.