Authors R. Michael Alvarez (California Institute of Technology) and Jonathan Nagler (New York University) have analyzed the likely impact on voter turnout should Hawaii adopt Election Day Registration (EDR).

Under the system proposed in Hawaii, eligible voters who miss the 30-day deadline for registering by mail may be able to register to vote on Election Day. The availability of Election Day Registration procedures should give voters who have not previously registered the opportunity to vote. Consistent with existing research on the impact of EDR in the other states that use this process, they find that EDR would likely lead to substantial increases in voter turnout. Under EDR, overall turnout in Hawaii could go up by 5.7 percent. Furthermore, based on estimates regarding the potential effects of EDR using data from all non-EDR states, we estimate:

  • Turnout among those aged 18 to 25 could increase by 9.9 percent.
  • Turnout among the poorest citizens could increase by 5.7 percent, while turnout among the wealthiest citizens would likely increase by only 3.3 percent.