What Voter Registration Modernization Means to Participation

Participation is a vital element of a healthy democracy. A voting process that streamlines participation, reduces costs and makes voting more secure surely is a goal that nearly all Americans would agree with.

Many experts, however, say our voting process is antiquated. The 2012 election was marred by stories of people standing in long lines, some as long as 7 hours. Millions of people showed up to polls believing they were registered to vote, but were ultimately turned away because their registrations were not up-to-date. Both voter fraud and voter suppression are continually being brought up as concerns in the media. Much of this is attributed to the bloated paper system most states continue to use.

The Ramirez Group’s Daily Snippet for today is one of the more astonishing facts about the current status of our voting system:

1 in 4 eligible voters are not registered to vote

That according to a study from the Brennan Center for Justice, “The Case for Voter Registration Modernization.”  There are numerous reasons associated with our outmoded voter registration system that Brennan outlines well in the study linked to above.

The Brennan Center study offers the following description of what voter registration modernization looks like:

• It establishes voluntary, automated registration of all consenting citizens when they interact with a wide range of government agencies.

• It makes registration portable, keeping voters on the rolls even when they move.

• It provides fail-safe procedures to ensure that eligible voters whose information is not on the rolls or not up to date can correct the information online or at the polls.

• It offers states federal funding to make necessary technological upgrades.

The benefits are substantial:

• It boosts election integrity, providing safeguards against hacking and curbing the potential for fraud.

• It could help bring up to 50 million eligible voters into the political process.

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• It costs less than the current paper-based system.