“Same Day Registration” (SDR) greatly expands opportunities for Americans to participate in the electoral process and cast a ballot that will be properly counted by allowing citizens to register and vote on Election Day or during the period immediately preceding an election. States that allow for Same Day Registration consistently lead the nation in voter turnout.
That trend continued in the 2010 midterm elections. Average turnout in the nine SDR states and the District of Columbia, which first implemented Same Day Registration in 2010, was nearly 6 percentage points higher than in non-SDR states.2 SDR allowed almost 640,000 Americans to register and vote in the November 2, 2010 election. This bloc of voters is larger than the populations of Washington, D.C.; Boston, Massachusetts; Nashville, Tennessee; Denver, Colorado; or the state of Vermont.
Maine and Minnesota, which allow voters to register and cast a ballot on Election Day, led the nation in voter turnout in the 2010 midterm election. Turnout rates there were 15 percentage points higher than the national average. Turnout was 10 percentage points higher in Wisconsin and Iowa, two other Same Day Registration states.
Idaho: Election Day registrants accounted for nearly 10 percent of the total ballots cast.
Iowa: Same Day Registration was first introduced 2008. Over 62,000 Iowans used SDR to vote in the two subsequent general elections.
Maine: Four out of five SDR voters registered on Election Day. Maine allows eligible citizens to register and vote at the municipal clerk’s office 30 to 45 days before each election, and on Election Day itself.
Minnesota: More than 10 percent of the total votes were cast by voters registering on Election Day.
Montana: Nearly 10,000 Montana citizens registered and voted during the state’s “late registration” period, which runs from the close of the regular registration period up to and including Election Day. Of those, almost half registered on Election Day itself.
New Hampshire: More than 23,000 New Hampshire residents registered and voted on Election Day in 2010.
North Carolina: Same Day Registration went into effect in North Carolina in October 2007. The state saw a steep rise in voter turnout in the November 2008 presidential election. The trend continued through the November 2010 midterm election. Voting in 2010 midterm election was 8 percentage points higher than in the 2006 midterm election -- the second greatest midterm vote increase in the nation. Over 21,000 of those who used SDR were new registrants. Nearly 40,000 others used SDR to update their voter registration records and vote, avoiding the need to vote by provisional ballot.
Wisconsin: Citizens who registered on Election Day accounted for over 10 percent of all voters.
Wyoming: Nearly 9,000 Wyoming residents used SDR to participate in the November 2010 general election.
The District of Columbia enacted Same Day Registration in 2009. It went into effect in 2010.