Americans' Mobility Remains a Challenge for Voter Lists

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that residential mobility continues to be an important concern in maintaining voter lists. According to the data, 35.7 million people, or 11.5 percent of Americans, relocated within the United States during 2014; of those, 16.7 million moved to a different county in the same or another state. Many of them, however, do not realize that they need to update their registration records to reflect their new addresses.

A 2014 poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group on behalf of Pew showed that 40 percent of California voters did not know that the Postal Service does not automatically update their registration when they move. When registration records are not updated, voter rolls become increasingly inaccurate, which can lead to information being mailed to old addresses and prevent voters from casting ballots in the correct precincts on Election Day.

The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) helps states keep their voter lists more complete and up-to-date by providing information on voters who have moved. Since its formation in 2012, ERIC has identified more than 2.7 million Americans who had moved from the address in their voter file.

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Fred Baldassaro

Director, Communications