Election Day Registration in CT and IL

Two states, Connecticut and Illinois, began election day registration (EDR) with the 2016 election,[1]and examination of data and interviews from the experience at the county level in those states provides some evidence of the likely effect of implementing EDR in California in 2018:

  1. The number of people likely to use EDR is a small percentage of total in person votes cast.
  2. Data extrapolated from the 2016 EAC Election Administration and Voting Survey for Connecticut and Illinois shows a statewide percentage of voters who used the EDR process to register and vote to be approximately 2% of total in-person voting for both states:[2]
  Total Votes Cast Total In Person Total EDR EDR as % of Total in Person
CT 1,675,955 1,508,670 34,929 2.2%
IL 5,551,017 3,703,548 121,797 1.88%


In other words, based on the Connecticut and Illinois experience in 2016, on average local clerks can expect an additional 2 election day registrants for every 100 in-person voters with the implementation of EDR. This is consistent with other studies predicting a total increase in turnout where EDR is implemented of approximately 4%.[3]


  1. EDR may result in fewer provisional ballots, less registration at clerk’s offices


Comparison of EAVS data from 2016 with data from the 2014 election, before implementation of EDR, tends to support the theory[4]that any additional costs or staffing needs resulting from implementation may be offset by corresponding drops in provisional ballots and in-person registration at clerks offices. With respect to provisional balloting, there is a statistically insignificant change in Connecticut, but a significant drop in provisional balloting both in total and as a percentage of total voting in Illinois:


  Total Provisional Ballots

Cast, 2014

As % of total votes Total Provisional Ballots

Cast, 2016

As % of total votes
CT 19 .00002 66 .00004
IL 32,519 .0114 26,363 .0047


In both Connecticut and Illinois, there was a significant drop in in-person registration at clerk’s offices from 2014 to 2016, which tends to support the theory of a benefit from EDR though it is not possible from the statistical evidence alone to determine if there is a specific causal link compared to other possible sources, such as internet registration:


  Total Registration 2014 % In-person at office Total Registration 2016 % In-person at office
CT 558,056 .30 996,091 .22
IL 1,616,430 .20 2,237,296 .13


III. Anecdotal evidence from local election officials consistently report little to no additional staffing or costs associated with implementation of EDR

Interviews of local election officials in Iowa and North Carolina, where EDR was previously implemented, have reported few staffing or cost consequences from that implementation:[5]

“We really don’t have any extra costs. We don’t hire extra office help for any of it and I have the same number of poll workers I would have even if we did not have EDR.”– Marsha Carter, Shelby County (8,983 registered voters)

“There are none [costs] directly associated, as EDRs are processed along with regular voters.”– Jill Titcomb, Cherokee County (8,892 registered voters)

“… [SDR costs were for] printing of election day registration forms and sending notices to election day registrants after the election” – Jack Beeson, Dallas County (46,295 registered voters)


“Minimal cost, added expense for forms only.”– Dennis Parrot, Jasper County (26,779 registered voters)


“Very minimal [SDR costs]– extra forms, about 10 forms for the last election”– Pam Benjegerdes, Allamakee County (10,029 registered voters)

  1. EDR has significant positive effects on voter turnout

The Connecticut and Illinois experience supports a large body of research that suggest an “enduring turnout boost” from implementation of EDR:[6]

“Not only are there fewer reports of problems with voter registration in states with election

day registration, but both registration and turnout are higher in election day registration states.

Based on voter registration and turnout statistics provided by the Federal Election Commission,

77.3% of the eligible population was registered to vote in non-election day registration states in

2000; 88.8% of the eligible population was registered in election day registration states.

Furthermore, 50.5% of the voting aged population turned out in non-election day registration

states in the 2000 presidential election, while 65.6% turned out to vote in the election-day registration states.[7]




[1]National Conference of State Legislatures, “Same Day Voter Registration,” October 12, 2017

[2]Election Administration and Voter Survey Comprehensive Report, 2016

[3]Election Day Registration’s Effect on U.S. Voter Turnout,Brians and Grofman, Social Science Quarterly 2001 Vol. 82-1

[4]Small Investments, High Yields: A Cost Study of Same day Registration in Iowa and North Carolina, Rokoff and Stokking (2012) Demos.org

[5]Small Investments, High Yields: A Cost Study of Same day Registration in Iowa and North Carolina, Rokoff and Stokking (2012) Demos.org

[6]Brians and Grofman, supra

[7]Election Day Voter Registration in the United States, Alvarez, Ansolabehere, & Wilson, Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Report (2002), citing Federal Election Commission data, http://www.fec.gov/pages/2000turnout/reg&to00.html.

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