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

The Problem with Paper

A Bureaucratic Nightmare

During the 2008 election cycle in New York, for example, where registration forms are supposed to be processed by the county registrars, about 100,000 forms collected by third-party registration groups were sent to the State Board of Elections in Albany. The State Board had to spend countless staff hours sorting and forwarding them to the correct local office, where officials were already inundated with registration applications. After Election Day, a Board of Elections employee in New York City found a box containing approximately 3,500 registration forms that had been forwarded by the State Board in early September. Those 3,500 names did not make the registration rolls by Election Day.

A 19th-Century System for a Digital Age

This is only the beginning. Staff time and resources are spent reading countless, hand-written forms. Election administrators do their best to decipher names, addresses, and other information before entering data into voter databases. More staff time is then spent double-checking the entries. Even after all of this, there are always typos or misspellings that affect the ability of eligible voters to cast a ballot on Election Day.

Too Much Control by Independent Groups

Our voter registration system leaves the door open to fraud sometimes committed by third-party organizations. One does not need to look any further than the 2008 election when registration forms were turned in by voter registration organizations across the country claiming to be from Mickey Mouse or Dick Tracy. We cannot allow this to continue. By relying on third-party registration groups, election officials are forced to wade through multiple registration applications from the same person and – even worse – countless applications from people who don’t exist. Each election cycle, local officials spend hundreds of millions of dollars doing their best to administer this system, but the forms get in the way. Eliminating voter registration forms and streamlining the process will not only take a weight off the shoulders of election officials, but will also save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Back to The Case for Voter Registration Modernization