Why We Need Voter Registration Modernization

The Brennan Center’s signature voter registration modernization proposal encourages states to replace their antiquated registration systems with the following digital age solutions.

December 1, 2014

There is momentum in favor of modernizing voter registration in states nationwide, which has been buoyed by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s recent recommendations about how best to reform the system. The Brennan Center’s signature voter registration modernization proposal encourages states to replace their antiquated registration systems with the following digital age solutions:

  • Online registration.
  • Electronic voter registration during transactions at a broad range of state public assistance agencies.
  • Portable registration to ensure that once an eligible citizen is on a state’s voter rolls, she remains registered and her records move with her so long as she continues to reside in that state.
  • An Election Day correction that allows eligible citizens to correct errors on the voter rolls before and on Election Day or a different failsafe that enables voters to cast a ballot that counts on Election Day.

Brennan Center research proves that these modernizing tools result in a voter registration system that will bring millions on to the rolls by making it easier for voters to register, ensure that voter rolls that are more accurate, and produce cost-savings to taxpayers to the sum of millions of dollars each year. 

Read our fact sheet explaining how a 21st century voting system would work.

Below are selected quotes from elected officials, newspapers, and other validators in support of Voter Registration Modernization

Elected Official

Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.

Other Officials

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.

  • Presidential Commission on Election Administration (January 2014)

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) (July 2014)

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 properly trained.

  • The New York Times: A Plan to Make Voting Easier (January 2014)

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