HB 401 HD 2 SD 2 Automatic Voter Registration/NPR article on Automatic Voter Registration

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Hawaii Legislative Automatic Voter Registration Opt Out:  HB 401 HD 2 SD 1- passed amended referred to WAM

 

NPR’s article on Automatic Voter Registration: A Positive Change

“More than 4,000 new voters [ under the automatic voter register in Oregon] were registered in the first six days compared to an average 2,000 new registrations each month under the old system.

She said of those automatically signed up, about 7 percent have opted out so far. The state sends everyone a follow-up letter giving them that option, so no one is forced to be registered.

Atkins said there have been two surprises with the new system. First, her office was expecting a lot of calls from confused or angry people wondering why they were automatically registered to vote. She said it hasn’t happened. In fact, her office sent home one of the temps hired to man the phones.

The other surprise is that the new system has allowed the state to immediately update 17,000 existing voter registrations to reflect changes of address. Under the old system, it could take months, even years, before the voter rolls were updated when someone moved within the state  a big problem in a state that conducts its elections by mail.

“They may have moved two or three times since the last election but never notified us and we get a lot of undeliverable ballots,” says Atkins. “We think that’s a loss for the people who should be able to vote and this system is going to help a great deal.”

Questions about how automatic voter registration will work are similar to those raised a few years ago about the impact of online voter registration. Some people thought it would favor one party over the other, but so far, that hasn’t happened. So while only two states allowed residents to register online in 2008, more than 30 states allow it today. And several more are about to do so.

“I think we’re touching on both the Republican issues and the Democratic issues in a balanced way,” Wyman said. “And I think we’ve found kind of the sweet spot between the two, and we’ll see how it goes!”

Fessler,Pam. Automatic Registration is the Latest Chapter in the Fight Over Voting Rights. NPR. February 17,2016. http://www.npr.org/2016/02/17/466986646/automatic-registration-is-the-latest-chapter-in-fight-over-voting-rights

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