Two states, Connecticut and Illinois, began election day registration (EDR) with the 2016 election,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:
- The number of people likely to use EDR is a small percentage of total in person votes cast.
- 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:
|Total Votes Cast||Total In Person||Total EDR||EDR as % of Total in Person|
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%.
- 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 theorythat 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
|As % of total votes||Total Provisional Ballots
|As % of total votes|
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|
III. Anecdotal evidence from local election officials consistently report little to no additional staffing or costs associated with implementation of EDR
“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)
- EDR has significant positive effects on voter turnout
“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
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.