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Testimony of Wendy Weiser and Nicole Austin-Hillery on H.R. 1719

Wendy Weiser and Nicole Austin-Hillery submit written testimony in support of H.R. 1719, the Voter Registration Modernization Act of 2009, to the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration. H.R. 1719 would require states to provide for online completion and submission of voter registration applications.

Published: October 29, 2009
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United States House of Repres­ent­at­ives
Commit­tee on House Admin­is­tra­tion
Subcom­mit­tee on Elec­tions

Testi­mony of
Wendy Weiser
Nicole Austin-Hillery
Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
Octo­ber 28, 2009

Modern­iz­ing the Elec­tion Regis­tra­tion Process
Octo­ber 21, 2009 

On behalf of the Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, we thank the Subcom­mit­tee on Elec­tions for hold­ing this hear­ing and for consid­er­ing our testi­mony in support of H.R. 1719, the Voter Regis­tra­tion Modern­iz­a­tion Act of 2009.   We commend Chair­wo­man Lofgren for intro­du­cing this import­ant piece of legis­la­tion to upgrade our voter regis­tra­tion system and urge the Subcom­mit­tee to support H.R. 1719.  We also recom­mend several revi­sions to H.R. 1719 and urge the Subcom­mit­tee to consider broader legis­la­tion to further improve our coun­try’s anti­quated voter regis­tra­tion system. 

The Bren­nan Center for Justice is a nonpar­tisan public policy and law insti­tute that focuses on issues of demo­cracy and justice. Among other things, we work to ensure fair and accur­ate voting and voter regis­tra­tion systems and to promote policies that maxim­ize parti­cip­a­tion in elec­tions. We have done extens­ive work on the subjects of voter regis­tra­tion and the main­ten­ance of voter regis­tra­tion lists, includ­ing conduct­ing stud­ies and publish­ing reports, provid­ing assist­ance to federal and state admin­is­trat­ive and legis­lat­ive bodies with respons­ib­il­ity over elec­tions, and, when neces­sary, litig­at­ing to compel states to comply with their oblig­a­tions under federal law and the Consti­tu­tion.

I.          The Subcom­mit­tee Should Support H.R. 1719, the Voter Regis­tra­tion Modern­iz­a­tion Act

H.R. 1719, the Voter Regis­tra­tion Modern­iz­a­tion Act, is an import­ant first step toward stream­lin­ing and modern­iz­ing our coun­try’s anti­quated and over­burdened voter regis­tra­tion system.  By allow­ing online regis­tra­tion, the bill would make voter regis­tra­tion more access­ible and less burden­some for poten­tial voters, more effi­cient and cost-effect­ive for elec­tion offi­cials, and would greatly decrease the poten­tial for cler­ical error that so often creates voter roll inac­curacies and unne­ces­sary barri­ers to the polls.  By provid­ing an oppor­tun­ity for voters to receive voting inform­a­tion elec­tron­ic­ally, the bill would also ease commu­nic­a­tion with voters and provide an addi­tional mech­an­ism for keep­ing voters informed and engaged.  In short, passage of H.R. 1719 will signi­fic­antly improve the voter regis­tra­tion system.

1.      H.R. 1719 Will Reduce Errors and Other Prob­lems that Plague the Current Voter Regis­tra­tion System  

The current, paper-based voter regis­tra­tion system creates a range of prob­lems for elec­tion offi­cials and voters alike.  Each elec­tion year, millions of Amer­ic­ans must submit new or updated voter regis­tra­tion forms, gener­at­ing a moun­tain of paper­work that must be processed by an army of elec­tion clerks.  A substan­tial portion of voters submit their paper­work at the last minute before an elec­tion, and so elec­tion offices are typic­ally inund­ated with paper to process at the elev­enth hour of the elec­tion cycle-the very time their atten­tion should be focused on ensur­ing that Elec­tion Day oper­a­tions run smoothly.  Such a labor-intens­ive system in such a compressed time frame is costly and inef­fi­cient.  It also multi­plies the possib­il­it­ies for error.  Inac­curacies on the voter rolls result from diffi­culties deci­pher­ing voter hand­writ­ing, typo­graph­ical and data entry errors, voters’ fail­ure to update their regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion, lost or incom­plete regis­tra­tions, and inab­il­ity to process regis­tra­tions on time, among other things.  Inac­cur­ate voter rolls create a range of elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion and voter list main­ten­ance head­aches, includ­ing increased numbers of provi­sional ballots to process and confu­sion at the polls. 

Inac­cur­ate voter rolls also create an unac­cept­ably high risk of eligible voter disen­fran­chise­ment.  For the up to 29% of regis­trants who submit their regis­tra­tions by mail,[1] there is a risk that their regis­tra­tions will be lost or delayed and thus not processed in time for an elec­tion.  For the up to 20% of regis­trants whose records contain typos, there is a risk that their inform­a­tion will not be prop­erly veri­fied by elec­tion offi­cials or that their names will not be found on the voter rolls on Elec­tion Day.[2]  These eligible citizens typic­ally cannot cast ballots that count. 

Online regis­tra­tion reduces each of these prob­lems.  First, because voters type in their own regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion online, there is no need for separ­ate data entry by elec­tion offi­cials.  Second, by elim­in­at­ing data entry, online regis­tra­tion reduces the poten­tial for typos and other errors.  Third, by trans­mit­ting regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion over the Inter­net, online regis­tra­tion elim­in­ates prob­lems stem­ming from lost forms or mail delays.  Fourth, by provid­ing a conveni­ent way for voters to check and submit correc­tions to their regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion, online regis­tra­tion makes it more likely that voters will ensure that their regis­tra­tion records are accur­ate and up-to-date, and less likely that voters will mistakenly submit duplic­ate regis­tra­tions.  Voters are best equipped to spot outdated or incor­rect inform­a­tion in their own regis­tra­tion records and, in a modern system, should be given the abil­ity and incent­ive to do so year-round.  Fifth, for all these reas­ons, online regis­tra­tion signi­fic­antly reduces the work­load of elec­tion offi­cials and the cost of admin­is­ter­ing the regis­tra­tion system.  The regis­tra­tion update func­tion also saves money: the more voters update their regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion, the less effort and resources elec­tion offi­cials have to expend to main­tain the voter rolls.  Sixth, and most import­ant, by redu­cing errors in the regis­tra­tion process, online regis­tra­tion will reduce unwar­ran­ted and prevent­able voter disen­fran­chise­ment.

2.      The Exper­i­ences of Other States Demon­strate that Online Regis­tra­tion is Feas­ible and Cost Effect­ive, and Will Real­ize Ongo­ing Cost Savings

The reforms proposed in H.R. 1719 are already up and running and enjoy­ing tremend­ous success in several states.  The exper­i­ence of those states demon­strates that online regis­tra­tion is feas­ible, can be accom­plished at a reas­on­able cost, and pays for itself rapidly in increased effi­ciency and costs savings. 

Arizona has been using online voter regis­tra­tion for seven years already,[3] and its success is inspir­ing a grow­ing number of states to adopt the reform.  Wash­ing­ton and Kansas also have online regis­tra­tion up and running, launched in Janu­ary 2008[4] and July 2009 respect­ively.[5]  Louisi­ana,[6] Color­ado,[7] Oregon,[8] Indi­ana,[9] and Utah have all approved online systems in the past six months and expect to have their systems in place by 2010.  Cali­for­nia has author­ized online regis­tra­tion as soon as its HAVA data­base is complete.[10]  There have been virtu­ally no tech­nical prob­lems in oper­at­ing these systems,[11] and no secur­ity prob­lems.

Start-up costs for online regis­tra­tion are modest.  Arizon­a’s pion­eer­ing system was estab­lished for less than $100,000.[12]  Wash­ing­ton spent $279,000-$170,000 at the state level and $109,000 among counties.[13]  And Kansas was able to build its system in-house, without any separ­ate appro­pri­ation or use of federal funds.[14]  Recent estim­ates have ranged from $217,000 in Oregon[15] to $400,000 in Cali­for­nia.[16]

As these states have found, online regis­tra­tion can be set up relat­ively quickly and inex­pens­ively; and, once in place, the system can be main­tained with a minimum of effort and expendit­ure.  In Wash­ing­ton, system main­ten­ance and over­head costs $22,000 annu­ally.[17]  Color­ado expects its system to cost $58,147 in its second year, primar­ily salary for one inform­a­tion tech­no­logy employee.[18]  And in Arizona, where an increas­ing propor­tion of all regis­tra­tion trans­ac­tions now take place online, total main­ten­ance and person­nel costs are estim­ated at $125,000. [19]

These states’ exper­i­ence suggests that these invest­ments will quickly pay for them­selves.  In Mari­copa County, Arizona (which includes Phoenix), processing an online regis­tra­tion costs an aver­age of three cents, compared to 83 cents for each paper applic­a­tion.[20]  As a result, online regis­tra­tion produces annual savings equi­val­ent to the cost of eight full-time employ­ees.[21]  Simil­arly, Wash­ing­ton’s online system has produced over $175,000 in savings for the state in its first year-and-a-half, while regis­trants have saved over $94,000 in post­age.[22]  And the State Elec­tions Director of Kansas anti­cip­ates substan­tial savings by elim­in­at­ing the costs asso­ci­ated with data entry error and cleanup.[23]

3.      H.R. 1719 Will Increase Voter Regis­tra­tion

Approx­im­ately 30% of voting-age Amer­ic­ans, and 41.5% citizens aged 18–24, are not registered to vote.[24]  Online voter regis­tra­tion makes regis­ter­ing to vote simple and quick.  Easing the regis­tra­tion process encour­ages more people to register, and to keep their personal inform­a­tion up to date and accur­ate.  In its first full year of oper­a­tion in Arizona, approx­im­ately 25% of all voter regis­tra­tions were submit­ted online.  Currently, nearly 70% of all voter regis­tra­tions in Arizona are submit­ted online.[25]  Online voter regis­tra­tion has had great success among younger voters, the most mobile and under-registered voting demo­graphic.  For example, in Wash­ing­ton, voters between 18 and 24 accoun­ted for nearly one-third of online regis­tra­tions in 2008.[26]

4.      The Build­ing Blocks for Imple­ment­ing H.R. 1719 Are Already in Place

As a result of the Help Amer­ica Vote Act of 2002, every state now has (or soon will have) a statewide voter regis­tra­tion data­base capable of shar­ing inform­a­tion, includ­ing with state depart­ments of motor vehicles.  These voter data­bases form the back­bone of online regis­tra­tion systems.  The tech­no­logy for setting up online voter regis­tra­tion systems that trans­mit inform­a­tion to voter data­bases already exists.  As mentioned, eight states either have online regis­tra­tion in place or are in the process of design­ing such systems.  As these states have found, with a statewide data­base in place, it is relat­ively easy, quick, and inex­pens­ive to set up online regis­tra­tion. 

With this grow­ing track record for ease, effi­ciency, and reli­ab­il­ity, online regis­tra­tion has come to enjoy increas­ingly wide­spread bipar­tisan support.  In Indi­ana it was included in a bill that passed the General Assembly unan­im­ously.  And in Color­ado online regis­tra­tion passed the Senate unan­im­ously after receiv­ing the support of an initial skep­tic, Repub­lican Senator Greg Brophy, who declared, “I am abso­lutely posit­ive this is going to be not only secure, but a neces­sary step forward.”[27]  We respect­fully urge this Subcom­mit­tee simil­arly to support this neces­sary step forward.

II.        Sugges­ted Improve­ments to H.R. 1719

The Bren­nan Center applauds Chair­wo­man Lofgren’s efforts to modern­ize the voter regis­tra­tion system through the use of the Inter­net.  This is an innov­at­ive and effect­ive way to expand regis­tra­tion oppor­tun­it­ies and reduce inef­fi­ciency and error while main­tain­ing the integ­rity of the regis­tra­tion process.  There are, however, oppor­tun­it­ies to improve upon this forward-think­ing proposal.  We hope that the Subcom­mit­tee will consider these recom­mend­a­tions as it moves forward with the bill.

First and most signi­fic­antly, we recom­mend that you consider coup­ling the require­ment for an auto­mated Inter­net-based voter regis­tra­tion system with a require­ment for an auto­mated system that can be accessed by tele­phone as well.  Many voters-espe­cially those who typic­ally have the greatest diffi­culty access­ing the current voter regis­tra­tion system-do not have easy access to the Inter­net or have disab­il­it­ies that prevent them from secur­ing the bene­fits of an Inter­net-based system.  These voters could be accom­mod­ated through a secure auto­mated tele­phone system with all the features of an Inter­net-based system.  Such tele­phone systems are commonly used and effect­ive.

Second, we recom­mend that you consider adding more specific secur­ity protec­tions to guard against unau­thor­ized changes to a voter’s regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion. More specific protec­tions will ensure that states adopt suffi­cient secur­ity meas­ures and that mali­cious indi­vidu­als will not be able to falsely update the voter regis­tra­tion inform­a­tion of other regis­trants without those regis­trants’ know­ledge or abil­ity to correct the mistake.

Third, the bill currently requires states to confirm the receipt of regis­tra­tion updates via e-mail only if reques­ted by the voter.  We recom­mend that this protec­tion be exten­ded to all those who use the online regis­tra­tion and update system.  This relat­ively cost-free modi­fic­a­tion will enhance the secur­ity and reli­ab­il­ity of the system.


III.       The Subcom­mit­tee Should Also Consider Broader Voter Regis­tra­tion Modern­iz­a­tion Legis­la­tion

H.R. 1719 is a crit­ical first step toward broader reforms to modern­ize our voter regis­tra­tion system.  We hope that the Subcom­mit­tee will also consider addi­tional reforms to bring our anti­quated voter regis­tra­tion system into the twenty-first century. 

Elec­tion offi­cials, experts, and policy-makers agree: our voter regis­tra­tion system urgently needs an upgrade.  Developed in the early 19th century, the current system is costly, inef­fi­cient and unre­li­able.  The system over­whelms elec­tion offi­cials with burden­some and need­less paper­work, and prevents many Amer­ic­ans citizens from exer­cising their right to vote.  This outdated system is the single greatest cause of elec­tion prob­lems for voters and elec­tion offi­cials alike.

There is an emer­ging bipar­tisan consensus on the best approach to modern­iz­a­tion.  Build­ing on data­bases already in place, we can now auto­mat­ic­ally register every eligible citizen on other govern­ment lists, ensure that every voter’s regis­tra­tion is perman­ent within each state, and provide adequate safe­guards to correct errors or omis­sions on the voter rolls.  Online regis­tra­tion is one crit­ical such safe­guard.  This common-sense, cost-effect­ive plan would simplify the regis­tra­tion process and bring as many as 65 million eligible Amer­ic­ans into the elect­oral process.  At the same time, it would ease burdens on elec­tion offi­cials and make our voting system less suscept­ible to fraud and less expens­ive for taxpay­ers.  Such a system is routine in other coun­tries, and because of the recent legal and tech­no­lo­gical advances in voter regis­tra­tion, it is now achiev­able here.

Compon­ents of a Fully Modern­ized System

The key compon­ents of a fully modern­ized voter regis­tra­tion system are:

  • Auto­matic Regis­tra­tion.  Under auto­matic regis­tra­tion, states auto­mat­ic­ally register eligible citizens, includ­ing newly eligible citizens, based on reli­able inform­a­tion on other govern­ment lists.  Elec­tion offi­cials retain their tradi­tional author­ity to determ­ine voter eligib­il­ity.
  • Perman­ent or Port­able Regis­tra­tion.  Under perman­ent regis­tra­tion, once a voter is on a state’s voter rolls, she will remain registered and able to vote at the polling place asso­ci­ated with her address so long as she contin­ues to reside in that state.  Perman­ent regis­tra­tion can be accom­plished by auto­matic regis­tra­tion record updates and proced­ures allow­ing voters to update their records before and on Elec­tion Day.
  • Elec­tion Day Correc­tion.  Under an Elec­tion Day correc­tion process, citizens can correct errors and omis­sions on the voter rolls before and on Elec­tion Day.
  • Online and Tele­phone Regis­tra­tion.  Online and tele­phone regis­tra­tion provides another crit­ical safe­guard to ensure accur­ate voter rolls.

A fully modern­ized regis­tra­tion system along these lines would yield dramatic bene­fits.  Far more than online regis­tra­tion alone, it would largely elim­in­ate the prob­lems plaguing the current voter regis­tra­tion system, improve access to the fran­chise and increase regis­tra­tion rates of eligible voters, increase the accur­acy of the voter rolls, reduce oppor­tun­it­ies for fraud and miscon­duct, improve elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion, and save millions of dollars each year in waste­ful and unne­ces­sary expenses.

A Fully Modern­ized System is Feas­ible

Modern­iz­ing the voter regis­tra­tion system along these lines is emin­ently feas­ible.  Each of the compon­ents of this system has already been imple­men­ted success­fully in U.S. states and other major demo­cra­cies, and other U.S. govern­ment agen­cies use similar tech­niques to build and main­tain reli­able lists.  In addi­tion, every state already has the build­ing blocks for a fully modern­ized system in place.

Each Compon­ent of a Fully Modern­ized System Has Been Success­fully Imple­men­ted

In Delaware, for example, elec­tion offi­cials recently collab­or­ated with the motor vehicle author­it­ies to launch an auto­matic voter regis­tra­tion system that has been widely praised.  Launched in Febru­ary 2009, Delaware’s “eSig­na­ture” program enables citizens to elec­tron­ic­ally initi­ate or update their voter regis­tra­tions at the same time they obtain or make updates to their driver’s license or state iden­ti­fic­a­tion cards at motor vehicle offices.  Inform­a­tion provided to motor vehicle author­it­ies is auto­mat­ic­ally and elec­tron­ic­ally trans­mit­ted to elec­tion offi­cials, in real time.  In its first months of oper­a­tion, Delaware’s auto­matic regis­tra­tion program reduced elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion costs by more than 10% and decreased wait times at motor vehicle offices.

The Select­ive Service also success­fully uses auto­matic regis­tra­tion and similar data-shar­ing tech­niques to build its list of young men aged 18 to 25.  The agency receives nearly three quar­ters of its inform­a­tion from other govern­ment agen­cies, includ­ing state depart­ments of motor vehicles, the Depart­ment of Labor’s Job Corps Program, the Depart­ment of Educa­tion’s federal student aid office, the Depart­ment of State, the United States Citizen­ship and Immig­ra­tion Services, the Depart­ment of Defense, and the Alaska Perman­ent Fund.  The Select­ive Service’s lists contain records for about 16.5 million indi­vidu­als-or about 95 percent of its target popu­la­tion.  It reports that its use of auto­matic regis­tra­tion and data-shar­ing has signi­fic­antly reduced its costs for build­ing and main­tain­ing its regis­tra­tion lists.[28]

Statewide perman­ent regis­tra­tion is currently in place in eight states-Color­ado, Delaware, Flor­ida, Mary­land, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wash­ing­ton-as well as in eight addi­tional states that achieve that result through Elec­tion Day regis­tra­tion-Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hamp­shire, Wiscon­sin and Wyom­ing.  Several states auto­mat­ic­ally update regis­tra­tion records as part of this process.  Moreover, as a result of the National Voter Regis­tra­tion Act of 1993, every state uses perman­ent regis­tra­tion tech­niques for voters who move within an elec­tion juris­dic­tion.[29]


A recent Bren­nan Center study of voter regis­tra­tion systems around the world found that the United States is an outlier in placing the full onus of voter regis­tra­tion on indi­vidual citizens.  In other major demo­cra­cies, the govern­ment facil­it­ates voter regis­tra­tion, typic­ally by using data-shar­ing tech­niques to auto­mat­ic­ally register eligible citizens found on other govern­ment lists.  Canada in partic­u­lar has achieved great success with a voter regis­tra­tion modern­iz­a­tion system with all of the compon­ents outlined above.[30]


The Build­ing Blocks For a Fully Modern System Are In Place

The primary build­ing block for full modern­iz­a­tion of the voter rolls is already in place: compu­ter­ized, statewide voter regis­tra­tion data­bases capable of shar­ing inform­a­tion with other data­bases.  In addi­tion, the Bren­nan Center’s research shows that most other govern­ment agen­cies that serve prospect­ive voters simil­arly main­tain their lists in a compu­ter­ized data­base capable of shar­ing inform­a­tion and collect all of the inform­a­tion required for voter regis­tra­tion.[31]  With these build­ing blocks in place, a fully modern­ized regis­tra­tion system will entail a relat­ively modest invest­ment.  This invest­ment will be recouped very quickly though substan­tial cost savings. 

Modern­iz­ing the System Is Cost-Effect­ive

The cost of upgrad­ing the voter regis­tra­tion system to a fully modern­ized system will be relat­ively modest, and it will be more than recouped in ongo­ing savings going forward.  Delaware, for example, spent $600,000 to build its auto­matic regis­tra­tion system (it already has perman­ent regis­tra­tion), and it is already real­iz­ing more than $200,000 in annual savings and anti­cip­ates even greater savings going forward.  While Canada spent millions of dollars in initial costs to build a voter regis­tra­tion data­base and launch its modern voter regis­tra­tion system, it recouped its initial invest­ment in cost savings in the first elec­tion in which the new system was employed.[32]  U.S. elec­tion offi­cials expect voter regis­tra­tion modern­iz­a­tion to reap annual savings of one-third or more of total elec­tion costs.

Broad Bi-Partisan Support

Because full voter regis­tra­tion modern­iz­a­tion is a common sense reform that yields a broad array of bene­fits, it is not surpris­ing that it has garnered support from a wide array of sources, includ­ing elec­tion offi­cials, news­pa­pers, voter advoc­ates, and other key stake­hold­ers.  The New York Times, Wash­ing­ton Post, Wash­ing­ton Times, Roll Call, Chris­tian Science Monitor, Kansas City Star, and the Boston Globe are among the public­a­tions that have edit­or­i­al­ized in favor of this reform.[33]

A broad and bipar­tisan group of public offi­cials have simil­arly come out in favor of voter regis­tra­tion modern­iz­a­tion.  For example, Robert Bauer, chief coun­sel for Obama for Amer­ica, and Trevor Potter, chief coun­sel for McCain 2008, recently co-authored an op-ed advoc­at­ing for this reform.[34]  Robin Carna­han, the Demo­cratic Secret­ary of State of Missouri, and Trey Grey­son, the Repub­lican Secret­ary of State of Kentucky, simil­arly published an op-ed call­ing for modern­iz­ing the voter regis­tra­tion system.[35]  Former Repub­lican Ohio Secret­ary of State Ken Black­well and current Demo­cratic Ohio Secret­ary of State Jennifer Brun­ner agree that modern­iz­ing the regis­tra­tion system like this is the way forward.[36]  And a bipar­tisan group of former and current elec­ted offi­cials recently launched the Commit­tee to Modern­ize Voter Regis­tra­tion based on this plat­form.[37]

Addi­tional Resources

The Bren­nan Center has both conduc­ted and collec­ted extens­ive research on voter regis­tra­tion modern­iz­a­tion; much of this research is avail­able at http://www.bren­nan­cen­­tra­tion_modern­iz­a­tion

*          *          *

            For these reas­ons, we respect­fully urge the Subcom­mit­tee both to support H.R. 1719 and to adopt expan­ded legis­la­tion further modern­iz­ing the voter regis­tra­tion system.

[1] U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion, Impact of the National Voter Regis­tra­tion Act on Federal Elec­tions, 2007–2008 6 (June 30, 2009), avail­able at­ment_down­load/file (28.8% of regis­trants submit­ted regis­tra­tions by mail, fax or e-mail).

[2] See, e.g., Social Secur­ity Admin­is­tra­tion, Quick Response Eval­u­ation; Accur­acy of the Help Amer­ica Vote Act Veri­fic­a­tion Program Responses 5, June 2009 (report­ing fail­ure rate of 31% when attempt­ing to match voter inform­a­tion with Social Secur­ity Admin­is­tra­tion data), avail­able at–09–29115.pdf; see also Justin Levitt, Wendy R. Weiser & Ana Munoz, Making the List:  Data­base Match­ing and Veri­fic­a­tion Processes for Voter Regis­tra­tion ii, 2006, avail­able at http://tiny­

[3] Office of the Secret­ary of State, Arizona, Arizon­a’s Elec­tronic Voter Regis­tra­tion Program (EZ Voter) 1 (2009) [here­in­after Arizona Summary].

[4] H.B. 1528, 60th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 2007), avail­able at

[5] E-mail from Brad Bryant, State Elec­tions Director, Office of the Secret­ary of State, Kansas (Oct. 10, 2009) (on file with Bren­nan Center).

[6] H.B. 520, 2009 Leg., Reg. Sess. (La. 2009), avail­able at­type=HB&billno=520.

[7] H.B. 09–1160, 67th Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (Colo. 2009), avail­able at­s2009a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/2C915D­DDB8F987AD8725753C00719C62?open&file=1160_enr.pdf.

[8] H.B. 2386, 75th Leg. Assem., Reg. Sess., (Or. 2009), avail­able at

[9] H.B. 1346, 116th Gen. Assem., 1st Sess. (Ind. 2009), avail­able at­lat­ive/bills/2009/HE/HE1346.1.html.

[10] S.B. 381, 2007–2008 Sen., Reg. Sess. (Cal. 2008), avail­able at–08/bill/sen/sb_0351–0400/sb_381_bill_20080830_enrolled.pdf.

[11] The only tech­nical prob­lems of which we are aware are two instances in which a system could not be accessed as a result of too much traffic.

[12] Arizona Summary, supra note 3, at 17.

[13] Wash­ing­ton Secret­ary of State, Wash­ing­ton State Online Voter Regis­tra­tion Packet 6 (2009) [here­in­after Wash­ing­ton OVR Packet], avail­able at

[14] Arizona Summary, supra note 3, at 17; Wash­ing­ton OVR Packet, supra note 21, at 8; e-mail from Brad Bryant, State Elec­tion Director, Kansas Secret­ary of State (Octo­ber 20 2009).

[15] Oregon Legis­lat­ive Fiscal Office, Fiscal Note to H.B. 2386 (May 18, 2009), avail­able at–18–2009.pdf.

[16] Office of Senate Floor Analyses, Bill Analysis, S.B. 381 (Aug. 23, 2008), avail­able at–08/bill/sen/sb_0351–0400/sb_381_cfa_20080823_110553_sen_floor.html.

[17] E-mail from David Motz, Elec­tion Inform­a­tion Services Manager, Office of the Secret­ary of State, Wash­ing­ton (Oct. 16, 2009).

[18] Color­ado Legis­lat­ive Coun­cil Staff, Fiscal Note to H.B. 09–1160 (Feb. 3, 2009).

[19] Between 60% and 70% of all regis­tra­tions in Arizona are now processed online.  Arizona Summary, supra note 1, at 18, 22.

[20] Pew Center on the States, Bring­ing Elec­tions into the 21st Century: Voter Regis­tra­tion Modern­iz­a­tion 3 (2009) (citing a forth­com­ing study), avail­able at http://www.pewcenteron­

[21] Arizona Summary, supra note 1, at 21.

[22] E-mail from David Motz, supra note 11; E-mail from David Motz, Elec­tion Inform­a­tion Services Manager, Office of the Secret­ary of State, Wash­ing­ton (Oct. 20, 2009) (on file with Bren­nan Center) (regard­ing savings to voters). 

[23] E-mail from Brad Bryant, State Elec­tions Director, Office of the Secret­ary of State, Kansas (Oct. 10, 2009).

[24] U.S. Census Bureau, Voting and Regis­tra­tion in the Elec­tion of 2008, Tbl. 1, 5, avail­able at­a­tions/p20/2008/tables.html.

[25] Arizona Summary, supra note 1, at 19.

[26] Wash­ing­ton OVR Packet, supra note 13, at 8.

[27] Charles Ashby, State Senate OKs Online Voter Regis­tra­tion Bill, The Pueblo Chief­tain (Color­ado), Apr. 25 2009.

[28] For a detailed descrip­tion of the Select­ive Service’s use of auto­matic regis­tra­tion and data-shar­ing and its implic­a­tion for voter regis­tra­tion, see Laura Seago, Auto­matic Regis­tra­tion in the United States: The Select­ive Service Example (Bren­nan Center 2009), avail­able at http://www.bren­nan­cen­­matic_regis­tra­tion_in_the_united_states_the_select­ive_service_example/#about.

[29] For a detailed descrip­tion of perman­ent regis­tra­tion and how it works in the states that have imple­men­ted it, see Adam Skaggs & Jonathan Blitzer, Perman­ent Voter Regis­tra­tion (Bren­nan Center 2009), avail­able at http://www.bren­nan­cen­­ent_voter_regis­tra­tion/#intro­duc­tion.

[30] See gener­ally Jennifer Rosen­berg with Margaret Chen, Expand­ing Demo­cracy: Voter Regis­tra­tion Around the World (Bren­nan Center 2009), avail­able at http://www.bren­nan­cen­­ing_demo­cracy_voter_regis­tra­tion_around_the_world/.

[31] For a more detailed review of state and federal agency lists, their demo­graphic cover­age, the inform­a­tion they contain, and their data-shar­ing capab­il­it­ies, see Laura Seago, Govern­ment Lists: How Ready Are They For Auto­matic Regis­tra­tion (Bren­nan Center 2009), avail­able at http://www.bren­nan­cen­­tra­tion_modern­iz­a­tion_govern­ment_lists.

[32] See Rosen­berg, supra note 30, at 8.  Canada’s previ­ous voter regis­tra­tion system was a costly door-to-door enumer­a­tion system, and so it recouped its invest­ment faster than is likely for most states.

[33] For a complete list of edit­or­i­als and articles cover­ing voter regis­tra­tion modern­iz­a­tion, see http://www.bren­nan­cen­­tra­tion_modern­iz­a­tion_news.

[34] Robert Bauer & Trevor Potter, A New Page for Voting, Wash­ing­ton Post, June 25, 2009.

[35] Robin Carna­han & Trey Grayson, Voter Regis­tra­tion System Needs to Be Modern­ized, Roll Call, March 10, 2009.

[36] Ken Black­well, Time for a Big Over­haul, Wash­ing­ton Times, Oct. 5, 2009; Elec­tion Enhance­ments Work­group, Report from the Secret­ary of State on HB 260, Sept. 21, 2009.

[37] See http://www.modern­izere­gis­tra­