Skip Navigation
Expert Brief

Bipartisan Presidential Commission Endorses Modernizing Voter Registration

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was appointed by Obama in 2013 to assess how to “improve the voting experience in America.” The Commission released its report and recommendations on January 22, 2014.

Published: December 1, 2014

Images of voters standing in hours-long lines at the polls in the November 2012 election generated much attention from the media, the public, and from the president. In early 2013, President Barack Obama convened a 10-member bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration to study and recommend ways to shorten lines at polling places, promote the efficient conduct of elections, and provide better access to the polls for all voters.

The Commission held hearings during which it received extensive about the need for election modernization and reform. Among other recommendations, the Brennan Center emphasized that problems with the voter rolls contribute to long lines and that modernizing registration is key to efficient election administration.

The Commission concluded its efforts by issuing its report and recommendations on January 22, 2014, concluding that no voter should wait more than 30 minutes to vote. The Commission recommended that jurisdictions modernize registration by giving citizens the choice to be electronically registered to vote at the same time as they do business with a government office and by adopting online registration. The Commission’s deliberative, bipartisan endorsement confirms that fixing our outdated voter registration system is essential to fixing long lines and bringing our system of running elections into the 21st century.

Presidential Commission on Election Administration Recommends Modernizing Registration

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.

Below are links to the Brennan Center’s testimony before the Commission, the Commission’s report, relevant news accounts, and other resources.

More Resources: