Voter Registration Problems—and Solutions

Voter Registration Problems—and Solutions

Reports from a number of states this past Election Day found voters going to the polls thinking they had registered to vote only to discover they were not on the rolls. In some cases questions arose about whether and how registration applications submitted via department of motor vehicles offices or third-party registration groups were processed.

"It's just the nature of transferring the forms from a third-party agency to my agency," St. Landry Parish, Louisiana Registrar of Voters John Moreau told the Daily World.

A new infographic from the Pew Center on the States shows strategies that several states are already trying to address some of the problems voters and election officials face.

The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a multistate partnership created with assistance from Pew, allows participating states—currently Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Washington—to securely compare voter records to improve both their ability to maintain clean lists and the efficiency of their registration processes.  

Additionally 13 states now allow voters to register online, an opportunity which hundreds of thousands of voters took advantage of this election cycle. Both ERIC and online voter registration can help improve accuracy while reducing costs to states.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.

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Data-driven state policy innovations across America

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.