Automatic Voter Registration: An Introduction
America's hearing two different stories, and each has a point.
NOT ENOUGH VOTING...
The US is the only G20 country that puts the burden of registration on citizens. The result: 25% of eligible voters, nationwide aren't registered. In MA, it's 15%. Still high.
It's hard to get registered: we face increasingly high documentation bar, and even "free" ID costs $#75-175 in travel, fees and lost work time. Handwriting, disorganization, or sabotage can result in a form not being processed.
It's hard to stay registered, too: voters who move need to re-register, and states purge far too many are erroneously purged using discredited criteria and algorithms.
How do we ensure that ALL eligible voters have a chance to vote, and secure our voter rolls from hacking that might remove them?
OR TOO MUCH?
1 in 8 American voter registration records are in accurate. . Americans move frequently, and most don't alert their former state that they're gone.
The Registry of Voters can't easily check to ensure that voters who leave, or are deceased, are removed from the rolls.
Paper registrations, due to mistakes or voter confusion, can result in non-citizens being registered. Unlawful voting's rare — weighed against a potential 10-yr sentence, adding one vote to a candidate who won't even represent you is a very high cost/return. Still: why not eliminate this possibility?
How do we create truly accurate voter rolls, ensuring that ONLY eligible voters are on the rolls?
MA H.2091: AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION
THE COMMON SENSE SOLUTION THAT
PUTS ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS ON THE ROLLS,
AND ONLY ELIGIBLE VOTERS ON THE ROLLS.
ACCURACY: RMV and MassHealth rigorously check if someone's a citizen, and citizens update their info at these agencies in a more timely manner. So the contact data these agencies have is far more accurate. When they skim it off, and transfer it to the Central Registry, our voter rolls become far more accurate.
SECURITY: AVR secures the rolls by frequently checking them against other databases. PARTICIPATION: AVR would register almost 680,000 people - almost all our eligible voters.
CONVENIENCE: When they interact with the agencies, voters are asked if they want to decline to register. They get another alert by postcard that they're about to be registered. If they do nothing, they get registered to vote. AVR changes the default from opt-in to opt-out.
STREAMLINING: Clerks no longer needs to process a mountain of paper forms in the months before an election.
AVR is funded: MA still has $43M from the HAVA act which can't be used for any other purpose.
H.2091, also joins us to ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center. ERIC is a 20-member interstate comparison program developed by the non-partisan foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, that both anonymizes and encrypts data, to create a far higher degree of accuracy than CrossCheck, the program it replaces. To learn more, visit ERIC.