Voter Registration

Voter Registration

  • No same-day registration. Registration should be required before Election Day to give election officials sufficient time to verify the accuracy of the registration information contained on a registration form and to confirm the eligibility of the individual seeking to cast a vote in the upcoming election.
  • No automatic voter registration. States should comply with the National Voter Registration Act and provide registration opportunities at state agencies. However, all individuals should be asked at the time of the state agency transaction, such as the application for a driver’s license, whether they want to register to vote. No one should be automatically registered without their consent or knowledge since this can lead to multiple registrations by the same individual as well as the registration of ineligible individuals such as noncitizens.
  1. Provide the ability for voters to register online - as currently allowed in 40 states
    1. Require each state to provide an online voter registration application that may be completed, submitted, and received by election officials electronically
    2. Allow registered voters to update their voter registration information online
    3. Permit voters without DMV records to register online using electronic copies of handwritten signatures, secure online signatures, or by providing a signature upon actually requesting a ballot
  2. A voter should be required to validate his or her identity with a government-issued photo ID to vote both in-person or by absentee ballot.
    1. Acceptable IDs would include state-issued driver’s licenses and non-driver’s ID cards; U.S. passports; U.S. military IDs; tribal government IDs; and IDs issued by state colleges and universities
    2. Government-issued IDs should be free for those who cannot afford one.
    3. For individuals who are too disabled, or otherwise unable to go to a state office on their own to obtain a state ID, states should provide appropriate transportation from their residence to the state ID office and back to their residence or provide a mobile van to travel to the home of permanently disabled individuals to provide them with an ID.
  3. State agencies, such as the DMV, should be prohibited from offering any individual the opportunity to register to vote who uses any foreign identification or another document that indicates the individual is not a U.S. citizen.
  4. When election officials discover that a registered voter is not a U.S. citizen, they should be required by state law to remove that individual from the voter registration roll immediately and send a notification to the local district attorney, the state attorney general, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
  5. If a state has online voter registration, such registration should be allowed only for individuals for whom there is already an existing state record such as a driver’s license that contains all of the information required to register to vote, including a signature.
  6. States should be required to allow registrations for voters without a physical address. A valid mailing address is still required
    1. Such as a voter who resides in a shelter, park, motor home, marina, unmarked home, or other identifiable location that the voter deems to be his or her residence
  7. Allow tribes to designate one or more tribal government buildings to serve as a residential address or mailing address or both for voters living on an Indian reservation or on Indian lands with a non-traditional address. However, a voter may not use a tribally designated building as the voter's residential address if the building is in a different precinct than where the voter lives

Verify Voter rolls

Computerized statewide voter registration lists should be designed to be interoperable so that they can communicate seamlessly with other state record databases to allow frequent exchanges and comparisons of information. For example, when an individual changes the residence address on his driver’s license, that information should be sent to state election officials so that the voter registration address of the individual is also changed to his or her new department of motor vehicles (DMV) residence address.

  1. There should be monthly comparisons of the statewide voter registration list with the databases maintained by the DMV; the state corrections department (for felons whose ability to vote has been taken away); state vital records; and state welfare and public assistance agencies to find information relevant to registration such as address changes, deaths, citizenship status, or other factors affecting eligibility. Associated records should be flagged, and follow-up with the registered voter(s) should take place to validate a change in status.
  2. Multiple registrations at the same address but with only slight differences in their names should be checked to ensure that they are not multiple registrations by the same individual. For example, many voter registration systems are not adequately designed to detect that John S. Smith registered at 100 Main Street is the same individual as John Samson Smith who is also registered at 100 Main Street. Voter registration system software should bring such anomalies to the attention of election officials for investigation.
  3. State legislatures should require localities to provide information from new registrants to the previous locality of registration to allow the prior jurisdiction to start list maintenance procedures. The voter registration form should require registrants to identify their previous address of registration and authorize the locality to send notice of registration to the prior local election office.
  4. In states that take away the ability of a convicted felon to vote, state law should condition requests from federal courts for a state’s voter registration or DMV list to use for federal juries on an agreement by the federal courts to notify state election officials if an individual is convicted of a felony in the federal court.
  5. Similarly, state election officials should be notified when a convicted felon has completed their sentence, and their voter registration shall then be reinstated automatically
    1. States should be required to inform citizens of their restored voting rights in writing
  6. Require that any decision to purge a voter be based on “objective and reliable evidence” that the voter is no longer eligible—which shall not include:
    • failure to vote
    • failure to respond to a mailed notice, unless the notice is returned as undeliverable
    • failure to take any other action with respect to voting
  7. Require election officials to:
    • provide timely notice to any voter removed from the rolls, and an opportunity to contest that removal or get their registration reinstated
    • publish a public notice within 48 hours of a purge being conducted
  8. Prohibit election officials from using voter caging or unverified match lists (compiled by matching voters’ and/or applicants’ registration information to a list of ineligible voters without looking at additional criteria such as signatures, social security numbers, or photos to ensure that they are accurate) to prevent any individual from registering or voting in a federal election
  9. Prohibit challenges to an individual’s eligibility to vote in a federal election within 10 days of Election Day, unless the individual registered to vote within 20 days of the election
  10. Establish penalties for challenging a voter’s eligibility to register or cast a ballot where the challenger knows the voter is eligible