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A Win for Voters in California

Youjin B. Kim

Yesterday, California came one step closer to adopting a proven innovation that helps increase voter participation –Same Day (or Election Day) Registration.

SDR allows eligible voters to update or add their information to the rolls on Election Day and/or during the Early Voting period, which is especially helpful for the highly mobile Americans of today.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 37.5 million individuals changed residences between 2009 and 2019 -- nearly 12.5 percent of the nation’s population.

According to a study by two political scientists, Election Day Registration could boost political participation in the Golden State by nearly 5 percent. In addition:

  • Turnout among those aged 18 to 25 could increase by 9.0 percent.
  • Turnout for those who have moved in the last six months could increase by 7.3 percent.
  • Turnout for Latinos and newly-naturalized citizens could each rise by 5.1 percent.

Same Day Registration states have historically led the nation in turnout and in 2008, over 1.5 million Americans were able to participate in the historic presidential election because of Same Day Registration. Nine states (Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia currently offer Same Day Registration. Connecticut also enacted the law earlier this year.

It looks like California, the biggest state in the nation, will join the ranks soon.