VRM in the States: Washington

Washington currently has the Electronic Registration at DMVs and Online Registration components of Voter Registration Modernization in place.

February 1, 2017

Advances in Voter Registration Modernization

  • Electronic Voter Registration: Washington launched electronic voter registration at Department of Licensing (DOL) offices in 2008. DOL technicians enter the voter’s vocal responses electronically and scan a paper form that contains the registrant’s signature. Voter registration information is transferred daily to election officials.
  • Online Voter Registration: Washington launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s Office in 2008. Eligible citizens with a state driver’s license or non-driver ID can use the system to register to vote and update their registration information.

Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Washington  

The steps Washington has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration and financial benefits for the state. For example:  

  • During a March 2013 interview with Brennan Center staff, Washington election officials reported saving 25 cents with each online registration, totaling approximately $176,000 in the first two years after launching the program. In addition to these state-level savings, counties in Washington reported saving between 50 cents and $2.00 per online registration.
  • Washington implemented online registration at a cost of approximately $279,000.
  • Between November 2012 and November 2014, 11.5% of all new voter registration applications were received online. 
  • In the years following the introduction of electronic registration in 2008, registration rates at the DMV nearly doubled.