Election Day Registration

December 8, 2009

Our ultimate goal is voter registration modernization, with the government taking responsibility for ensuring that every eligible citizen is registered to vote in the correct jurisdiction, rather than placing the responsibility on individuals.

A key step toward registering all eligible citizens is Election Day registration, where eligible citizens have the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. In 43 states, citizens must register well in advance of Election Day, before media coverage really heats up and before candidates seek to educate or engage most citizens in the election. These early deadlines act to exclude eligible citizens who would otherwise be eager to vote. Election Day registration boosts turnout by approximately 5–7 points in those states that allow eligible citizens to register on Election Day—with a decreased dependence on provisional ballots and without any reported increase in voter fraud.

The Brennan Center provides research, public education, advocacy, litigation, and legislative counseling for government officials and advocates promoting Election Day Registration. Our efforts have contributed to efforts to establish Election Day registration in at least five different states.

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