Online voter registration is a cost-effective, convenient option, particularly for young voters and overseas voters. A 2012 report from the Fair Elections Legal Network that examined the performance of California’s online registration system across several counties found that, while voters younger than age 26 comprised 12 percent of the overall registrations in the studied counties, they made up a disproportionate 28 percent of online registrants. The report additionally found that online registrants turned out at a higher rate than those using a traditional paper form.

States that have implemented online registration have also reported “significant cost savings.” In Arizona, for example, a 2010 case study found that paper registrations cost 83 cents to process, whereas online registrations cost just 3 cents. Online voter registration is not only cost effective, but it also reduces registration errors and increases voter roll accuracy. Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the first jurisdictions to implement online registration, found that paper registrations introduce five times more errors into the system than online registrations.

Since Arizona started offering online voter registration in 2002, 27 additional states and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Currently, 22 states do not offer full online voter registration.

For a more detailed explanation of each factor, including citations, please download the full report.

Click to view scoring methodology
  1. Current Policy in State
    Points added to score
  2. State has passed a law allowing for full online registration
    0 points
  3. State has not passed an online registration law, or law only allows for limited online registration
    10 points
Policy Recommendation for This Factor
Provide online voter registration

From reading up on candidate positions to tweeting about breaking news, civic engagement is rapidly moving to an online environment. To meet this demand, it is crucial that states make the voter registration process as accessible as possible by providing an online registration option. Online voter registration provides three key advantages: voter convenience, particularly for military and overseas voters; more accurate voter rolls and a reduction in registration errors; and a significant cost savings over paper registrations. States that do not currently offer online registration should create this option, with an eye to eliminating barriers that voters with disabilities may face when attempting to register online.

Click here to see a full list of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report.

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