Support for Voter Registration Modernization

July 1, 2014

Support for the effort to modernize our voter registration system is increasing. Below, find a collection of selected quotes from elected officials and newspapers in support of Voter Registration Modernization.

Elected Officials | Other Officials | Editorial Support

Support by Elected Officials

"Democracy works best when everyone participates. By removing unnecessary roadblocks to the ballot box, more residents will be able to exercise their constitutional right and have their voices heard. [Same day registration] will help more people across Illinois have a say in how their community, state and nation are run.”
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn (D) (Illinois News Network, 7/1/2014)

“The fundamental right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy, but unfortunately, the inefficiencies and errors in the administration of our elections have become common and are eroding the right of citizens to participate in elections. During our last federal election, far too many citizens had to overcome significant obstacles in order to cast a ballot. The existence of long lines, malfunctioning poll books, defective voting machines, and the lack of staff and adequate resources at polling locations created inexcusable conditions for voters.”
U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, Chris Coons, Mark Warner, and Bill Nelson (D) (Senator Boxer’s Press Release, 6/11/13)

“We haven't been able to get the legislature to respond to our efforts to allow online voter registration. It's cheaper, it's easier and it's more secure. We can save between $1.5 million and $3.5 million for the local boards of elections…It's simpler for the voter, because it's right there at their fingertips.”
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) (, 6/30/14)

"This legislation [which allows for early voting, pre-registration, and online voter registration] makes our democracy stronger…With this new law we are making it easier and more efficient to register and vote, ensuring more people have an opportunity to participate in the election process.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) (Governor Patrick's Press Release, 5/22/14)

"After moving some mountains to quickly launch online voter registration in time for the 2012 presidential election season, I wanted to see what could be done to make [online registration] even better. This enhanced application is a result of in-depth collaboration among dozens of experts in cultural, language, disability access, elections and technology issues”
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen (D) (California SOS Press Release, 4/21/14)

“Earlier this year, a bipartisan commission I appointed chaired by my election lawyer and Mitt Romney’s election lawyer came up with a series of modern -- or common-sense reforms to modernize voter registration, and to curb the potential for fraud in smart way, and ensure that no one has to wait for more than half an hour to cast a ballot.  States and local election boards should take up those recommendations.  And with the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer almost upon us, I urge members of Congress to honor those who gave their lives so that others could exercise their rights, and update the Voting Rights Act. Go ahead and get that done.”
President Barack Obama (Remarks at the National Action Network's Annual Convention, 4/11/14)

 “Georgians deserve to be able to register to vote or change their information with as much ease as possible. [Online registration] not only will provide benefits to the voter, but also for all 159 counties,”
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) (ZPolitics, 4/1/14)

“This new system [online voter registration] will make it faster and more convenient for citizens of all eligible ages to take advantage of one of their most fundamental rights as American citizens…Voting is the most basic tenant of our democracy – it is incumbent upon us to ensure that voters have adequate access to the ballot box and that we encourage civic engagement.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) (Governor Malloy's Press Release, 2/18/14)

“Indiana is the first state in the nation to develop standards for this new frontier of technology…We have become leaders in modernizing the electoral process. First, we gave every county the option to use ePollBooks and now we are protecting Hoosier voters as they sign-in by ensuring only the best quality ePollBooks are used in Indiana.”
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R) (Indiana Secretary of State Press Release, 1/29/14)

"I am committed to ensuring that all eligible Missourians have the opportunity to cast a ballot, and since you can’t vote unless you’re registered, we decided to do what we could to simplify the process and make it more convenient for voters…Now, Missourians will have the opportunity to fill out their registration form in one step from their homes, instead of multiple steps at different locations."
Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) (Missouri Secretary of State Press Release, 12/19/13)

"Today we join many states that have already demonstrated that online registration is secure and that it saves taxpayers money.”
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D) (Minnesota Secretary of State Press Release, 9/26/13)

“ERIC [Electronic Registration Information Center] provides states with a powerful new set of tools that   improve the accuracy of voter rolls and expand access to voter registration, achieving both goals more efficiently …We need to continue modernizing our voter registration system to be more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient."
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R) (Washington Secretary of State Press Release, 9/4/13)

“The launch of online voter registration will enable eligible citizens to apply to register to vote and to update their registration information online, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, regardless of where military service, family or professional obligations may require them to be. I am proud to have sponsored this legislation to assist Virginians to more conveniently participate in elections. Online registration is secure and enhances the integrity of Virginia’s voter rolls; further, it saves costs and increases efficiency and access.”
Virginia Delegate David Ramadan (R), sponsor of legislation (Virginia State Board of Elections, 7/23/13)

"Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote."
President Barack Obama (Inaugural Address, 1/21/13)

 “[Online voter registration] will help people who find traditional procedures out of reach, including the housebound and the disabled community. With the right equipment, for example, sightless people can register without the assistance of another person to fill out a card. Our military servicemen and women will find far less delay in registration, eliminating worries about whether the snail mail will deliver their paperwork in time.”
Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown (D) (The Oregonian, 3/1/10)

"The integrity of our election system requires an automated voter registration process that is accurate, permanent and secure. A modernized system would serve voters better and save states money by streamlining the process, substantially reducing or eliminating paper and minimizing administration costs."
Ken Blackwell (R), Ohio Secretary of State 1999-2007 (Washington Times, 10/05/2009)

"Democrats believe it is too hard for people to register and vote; Republicans believe it is too easy to register and vote fraudulently. There may be a way to solve both problems simultaneously through new technology and forge a better bipartisan solution."
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) (National Journal, 04/13/2009)

"One key area where improvements are necessary, and possible, is the modernization of our voter registration system."
Robin Carnahan (D), former Missouri Secretary of State and Trey Grayson (R), former Kentucky Secretary of State (Roll Call, 03/10/2009)

"By linking these voter databases to other state agencies—the DMV, the post office, tax rolls, felon lists, death records—the potential to reduce fraud and and prevent [eligible] voters from being turned away is tremendous."
Then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) (Keynote Address, Launch of AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project, 02/08/2006)

"A system of automatic registration, in which the government bears more of the responsibility for assembling accurate and secure lists of eligible voters, is a necessary reform."
Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) (The New York Times, 11/06/2008)

Support by Other Officials

“Our aim was to transcend partisan divisions and view election administration as public administration that must heed the expressed interests and expectations of voters …The focus that we and our eight colleagues on the Commission brought to the Report is recognition of the issues and trends in election administration judged from the standpoint of voter expectation and the ways those expectations can and should be met.”
Robert F. Bauer and Benjamin L. Ginsberg, Chairs of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (Presidential Commission on Election Administration, 1/22/14)

“This view of administration will not only reduce wait times where they occur, but also improve the quality of administration in many other ways, from the registration process through the selection and design of polling places, to improved access for particular communities of voters, such as those with disabilities or limited English proficiency, and overseas and military voters. The Commission has found that problems encountered with election administration overlap and intersect, and improved management at one stage in the process will yield benefits at later stages. Improving the accuracy of registration rolls, for example, can expand access, reduce administrative costs, prevent fraud and irregularity, and reduce polling place congestion leading to long lines.”
The Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s Letter to President Obama (Presidential Commission on Election Administration, January 2014)

“The challenge for the [US election] system, and for this Commission, is to confront the problems revealed with each election and to institutionalize processes that allow the system to learn from one election to the next.”
The Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s Report (Presidential Commission on Election Administration, January 2014)

“[Online ballot absentee application] is a great improvement in voting absentee for our men and women overseas or at U.S. military bases far from home. Those defending our freedoms should be able to exercise their right to vote in a simple, straightforward manner.”
Retired Lt. Col. John Kingrey, judge advocate general officer, Army Reserve (Minnesota Secretary of State Press Release, 9/26/13)

"South Carolina has made important improvements to our registration and elections process in the last decade, and we are proud to announce one of the single most important changes to the process is now a reality…There's no waiting in line, no forms to print out, nothing to mail in. Any eligible person can register in just minutes."
Marci Andino, Executive Director of the South Carolina State Election Commission (South Carolina Election Commission, 10/2/12)

 “One final area for reform that merits our strongest support is the growing effort – which is already underway in several states – to modernize voter registration.   Today, the single biggest barrier to voting in this country is our antiquated registration system.   According to the Census Bureau, of the 75 million adult citizens who failed to vote in the last presidential election, 60 million of them were not registered and, therefore, not eligible to cast a ballot…. modernization efforts would not only improve the integrity of our elections, they would also save precious taxpayer dollars.”
Attorney General Eric Holder (Remarks at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum, 12/13/11)

“Voter registration modernization would ‘remove the single biggest barrier to voting in the United States, our antiquated registration system.’”
Attorney General Eric Holder (Brennan Legacy Awards Dinner, 11/17/2009)

"As states implement the changes required by the MOVE Act, they should make it easier for military and overseas voters to cast state and local ballots as well. At the same time, states should modernize their registration systems to ensure that these highly mobile voters receive ballots and voting information at the correct address."
Rear Adm. James J. Carey, National Chairman of the National Defense Committee (Washington Times, 11/11/2009)

"Bringing our voter registration system into the 21st century must be the priority for improving the election process."
Robert Bauer, General Counsel to Obama for America and Trevor Potter, General Counsel to John McCain's 2008 campaign (The Washington Post, 06/24/2009)

"The single most important thing that Congress can do right now is create universal voter registration, which would mean that all eligible voters are automatically registered."
— Rosemary E. Rodriguez, Former Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission (The New York Times, 11/06/2008)

"Automatic voter registration is the way to go."
John Tanner, Department of Justice Voting Rights Section Chief 2005-2007 (The Indianapolis Star, 7/19/2009)

Editorial Support

"No one should have to wait more than 30 minutes to vote. Ballots should be simple; registration efficient. Polling places should be well-organized and workers trained properly."
The New York Times (1/22/2014)

"Modernizing the registration system is the most crucial step."
The New York Times (2/12/2013)

"Mr. Obama should adopt the Brennan Center template."
The Scranton Times-Tribune (11/17/2012)

"Given the progress some states have achieved with new registration methods, it’s time for Congress to step in and require that all states bring their systems into the digital age."
The New York Times (4/7/2012)

"So, it's time for Congress to fix [voter registration], [...] to encourage states to to automatically register citizens [...]."
Roll Call (6/29/2009)

"The U.S. needs to make modernizing voter registration a top priority."
The Baltimore Sun (6/22/2009)

"The larger answer to low registration rates is to enact laws requiring universal voter registration."
The New York Times (4/10/2009)

"The most important change Congress can make is to require universal voter registration."
The New York Times (3/17/2009)

"It is clear [...] that the cumbersome, paper-based system of voter registration needs to be overhauled."
The Washington Post (3/16/2009)

"One simple change would solve several problems that have bedeviled recent national elections: universal voter registration."
The Boston Globe (11/14/2008)

"[I]t's time to rethink another vestige of an earlier era—voter registration system that not only prevents people from voting but causes myriad troubles for election officials."
The Washington Post (11/08/2008)

"Beyond this, the country should start to debate the idea of 'universal voter registration.'"
The Christian Science Monitor (10/22/2008)