Advances in Voter Registration Modernization
- Electronic Voter Registration: Kentucky launched electronic voter registration at circuit court clerk’s offices – which serve as the state’s driver’s licensing offices – in 1995, but registrations require paper signatures for completion. At circuit court clerk’s offices and social service agencies, voters complete paper applications that have been pre-populated with relevant information by providing their signature. That application is then mailed to election officials, while some information is also sent electronically.
- Online Voter Registration: Kentucky launched online voter registration through the Secretary of State’s office in 2016. Eligible citizens can use the system to register to vote or update their registration information even if they do not have a state driver’s license or non-driver ID. New registrants without a state ID can sign the registration form by providing an electronic signature.
Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Kentucky
The steps Kentucky has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration and financial benefits for the state. For example:
- During an April 2013 interview with Brennan Center staff, Kentucky election officials reported that fewer staff members are needed for data entry and there are fewer issues deciphering illegible handwriting due to online and electronic registration.
- In the first three months of the online portal’s launch, 21,745 Kentuckians used it to register to vote or update their registration. 5,300 applicants provided their signature by signing on a touchscreen or touchpad rather than entering a state ID number.