News Update: Utah Gov’s Bipartisan Commission Unanimously Recommends Voter Registration Modernization to and registration.

Election Officials are Overburdened

Inefficiencies and Redundancies

The cyclical nature of elections and registration deadlines, and the problems of paper and stretched resources, mean that election officials’ time is being usurped when it is needed the most. As a result of the inefficiencies of the registration process, other crucial activities are neglected, such as absentee balloting and voter education.

  • Between 2004 and 2006, election officials in 35 states processed nearly 11 million forms submitted by already-registered voters to report address or name changes or updates to party affiliation.
  • From the close of the 2004 elections to the close of the 2006 elections, changes of name, address, and political party accounted for more than 30% of all voter registration transactions.

Overwhelmed at the Eleventh Hour

Each registration requires an individual paper form and 30-50% of these forms arrive at registrars’ offices during the crucial planning and implementation period just before a major election. For example, in 2008:

  • In Fairfax County, Virginia, 30% of new voters who registered last year were added to the rolls in the final 30 days of registration.
  • In Fulton County, Georgia, 41.4% of all registration applications were received in the final six weeks of the registration period.
  • In Hillsborough County, Florida, 42% of all registration applications the county received arrived just before the close of registration.
  • In Columbus, Ohio, the county board of elections stopped notifying potential applicants of missing information, keeping them from getting on the voter rolls since it cost too much money and such notification is not required by Ohio law.
  • Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest election jurisdiction, received more than 1.1 million new voter registrations. Nearly 50%—541,542—of those new registrations arrived in September and October. Of those new registrations, 46% – more than a quarter of a million applications – arrived between October 15 and October 30. The day after the postmarked deadline for registration, Los Angeles County received 63,718 applications.

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