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

The System Wastes Resources

The Process is Expensive

A paper-based system means hundreds of thousands of staff hours and dollars are spent every election cycle deciphering paper registration forms, entering data, reviewing entries, printing, stuffing and mailing registration cards to voters. But that’s only the beginning. Every election season, a last-minute deluge of registration applications forces election officials to spend precious resources on temporary workers and additional computers to ensure that all eligible voters get on the rolls in time to cast a vote. This process costs small jurisdictions, like Forsyth County, Georgia, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Costs grows to more than $1 million in medium-size jurisdictions like Franklin County, Ohio and can easily become multi-million dollar endeavors in large counties like Los Angeles.

Government Resources Wasted

Members of the Committee to Modernize Voter Registration can attest to the resources spent on registration by the jurisdictions they represent:

“L.A. County spends more than $12 million annually processing voter registrations. In 2008, we were still processing incoming registration applications through the weekend prior to the Presidential Election, while simultaneously issuing and processing record numbers of vote by mail ballots and setting up the infrastructure to serve 4.3 million voters on Election Day. To meet the demand and timeframes associated with the current registration system, we mail — via overnight FedEx shipping — supplemental voter lists of new registrants to all precinct inspectors at a cost of $56,000 per election.”

— Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

“In 2008, we spent $13 million in total for the election for just Franklin County. $1 million of that was just for seasonal and overtime for regular workers to deal with registration. We sent out 300,000 voter registration cards and each one resulted in at least one mailing, so that’s 50-plus cents every time. That doesn’t include when the card comes back undeliverable or when we have to send another letter to figure out what’s missing.”

– Matthew Damschroder, Deputy Director, Franklin County Board of Elections

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