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Breaking Down Election Day Registration

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Election Day Registration is getting more Democratic support. So far States that allow voters to register and vote on the same day have a experienced a spike in turnout. For example, New Hampshire’s Primary turnout was highest of all primaries thus far at 52.4% (up from 44.4% in 2000), and Iowa’s caucus turnout was highest of all caucuses thus far at 16.4% (up from 6.8% in 2000).

A total of eight States have Election Day Registration: New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, Maine, Wyoming, and Idaho. North Carolina allows same day registration at early voting sites three days before an election but not on Election Day. States with Election Day Registration routinely have turnout at a rate of 10-12 percentage points higher than States that don’t.

While there are some reputable studies purporting that Election Day Registration is not a knight in shining armor, 22 States now have introduced pending legislation in favor of it and more are sure to follow suit. Moreover, a few members of Congress led by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) are introducing a bill (top-heavy on the Democratic side of the aisle) in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Indiana Voter ID decision. However, increasing turnout is not a red or blue issue, and when it comes to the sanctity of our elections we should be thinking red, white and blue.

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