Implementation Guide, Report on 2008 Election BOOST Reform Momentum Now In States
New York, NY — The 2008 election had the highest voter participation on record — more than 64 percent of the overall electorate, or 130 million people — and nowhere were those numbers higher than in states that allowed people to register and vote on the same day. The procedures in those states that support this high turnout, known as Election Day Registration (EDR) and/or Same Day registration (SDR), are increasingly recognized as critical reforms that work to bring millions of Americans into the democratic process, and do so in a way that is safe and cost effective for states.
To support momentum building in states across the country for EDR legislation, the national public policy and advocacy center Demos is announcing the publication of a new data report and a policy implementation guide for use by EDR advocates and election administrators:
Election Day Registration: Best Practices is a new tool that helps states considering EDR better understand the details and objectives of the law, and it assists election officials with proper implementation. The guide outlines the various approaches to putting EDR into practice, as reported by election officials in EDR states, and includes a variety of supporting documents as examples of those approaches.
The Best Practices guide addresses:
"Having previously served as a state's chief election administrator, it's long been clear to me that allowing people to register and vote on the same day is a win-win reform for citizens and for states," said Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and former Secretary of the State of Connecticut, who recently submitted testimony to a Senate Rules Committee hearing on the 2008 election. "Far too many Americans are simply cut out of the voting process and don't have their say-whether because of voter list problems, arbitrary deadlines, casting a provisional ballot that is never counted-and EDR is one of the best ways to mitigate them and give people back their voice in our democracy."
Voters Win With Election Day Registration is an annual report by Demos that examines the performance of EDR in recent elections. The newest edition is focused on the performance of the nine states that allowed people to register and vote on the same day in the 2008 election. The report shows that these states — Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minn., Mont., N.H., N.C., Wis., Wyo — have consistently higher voter participation than other states, 7 percent on average in 2008. Prior to that election, where voter participation surged across the country, States with EDR have historically boasted turnout rates 10 to 12 percentage points higher than non-EDR states.
Highlights from the 2008 election include:
Voters Win also highlights EDR's key benefits, notably that it:
"Bolstered by the success of Iowa and North Carolina, and with the strong record of success in states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, many states are considering same day registration proposals," said Regina Eaton , Deputy Director of Demos' Democracy Program and head of the nationwide EDR implementation campaign. "This is a critical reform that is gaining real momentum across the states, and is now considered an essential component of federal legislation to modernize elections. These new publications are tools to support those efforts."