Upgrading Voter Registration

Voter registration systems

Voter registration systems are supposed to ensure access to voting while preventing fraud. Yet, America’s registration system is:

  • Plagued by errors that prevented more than two million people from voting in 2008 and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.
  • Poorly designed for an increasingly mobile society in which one in eight Americans moved in 2008.
  • Reliant on inefficient paper forms that often are submitted at the last minute by unregulated third-party groups.
  • Unnecessarily expensive, costing taxpayers as much as 12 times more per voter than is required in Canada, where 93 percent of those eligible are registered.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is partnering with election officials, policy makers, technology experts, and other stakeholders toward a voter registration system that features:

  • Greater coordination among states in order to increase accuracy and reduce costs.
  • Better use of available databases, such as motor vehicle information, Social Security death records and National Change of Address information, to keep voter registration lists current.
  • Access for voters to securely update records electronically in order to minimize manual data entry.

Together, Pew and its partners are building on cutting edge practices in some states and the private sector to bring voter registration systems into the 21st century and improve accuracy, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Recent Work