The NCSL Blog


By Dan Diorio

In each issue of The Canvass, from now until the November general election, we will look at one major election administration topic showing how it has changed at the legislative level from one presidential year to another. For the June issue: Online Voter Registration

Online voter registration has taken the election world by storm in recent years and is really the story of elections in from 2012 to 2016. Here’s how things have changed:

Online registration padIn 2012: Thirteen states provided an online voter registration option for voters, in addition to traditional registration methods, such as at a motor vehicle agency or on paper: Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York (although some argue whether it is truly online registration), Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

In 2016: Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have online voter registration systems up and running.

In addition to the states that had online voter registration in 2012:

  • Ten states and the District of Columbia have adopted online voter registration through legislative action since 2012: Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Eight states have adopted online voter registration through administrative procedures since 2012: Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
  • An additional seven states have enacted legislation to create online voter registration, but their systems are not yet operational: Florida, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

For the adoption history of online voter registration, visit NCSL’s Online Voter Registration page.

To understand the variations among these systems, see Online Voter Registration: Trends in Development and Implementation from The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

Be sure to subscribe to The Canvass for more election updates. See the March issue for a look at how early and no-excuse absentee voting changed, the April issue for same-day voter registration and the May issue for voter ID.

Dan Diorio is a policy specialist in NCSL's Elections Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.