Analysis

Election Day Registration in 2014

Same-day registration continues to be a hot topic in election administration. Three states—Colorado, Connecticut, and Illinois—offered it for the first time in a federal general election Nov. 4. Colorado implemented it at every voter service and polling center, but in Connecticut and Illinois, it was available only in select locations, such as city halls or election offices, and not at individual polling stations. 

The number of people who took advantage of same-day registration in each state totaled:

  • Colorado: 4,695
  • Connecticut: 13,881
  • Illinois: Statewide numbers are not yet available, but the Cook County election jurisdiction, covering the suburbs of Chicago, had 3,604 same-day registrants. 

In many cases, voters responded with enthusiasm, which led to long lines. 

Some Connecticut precincts experienced more same-day registrations than expected, causing extended wait times and frustration. In New Haven, about 50 citizens reportedly were turned away when polls closed at 8 p.m. Illinois had similar crowds and long waits, particularly in Chicago. The Illinois Legislature adopted same-day registration only for the 2014 general election and will decide during a future legislative session whether to retain it. 

In Montana, a ballot initiative to eliminate same-day registration was voted down, 57 percent to 43 percent. Montana has had same-day registration since 2005. 

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