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Related Topic: Elections

Key Takeaways:

Legislative Considerations

  • Turnout. The argument for implementing preregistration policies has to do with increasing youth turnout. Turnout among 18 to 29-year-olds is consistently lower than other age brackets, so states looking to preregistration as one option to engage young voters in the electoral process. A series of studies have shown the preregistration has a positive effect on youth turnout.

  • Logistics. Since preregistered youth may move between preregistration and their first chance to vote, these registrations may no longer be accurate and valid. States may need to send notifications to preregistered voters once they turn 18 to confirm the registration and address information. There may also need to be updates or additions to the statewide voter registration database in order to enter preregistrations and track this information.

  • Cost. Costs may be a factor; implementation in Colorado was estimated at $572,112 in 2013. Additionally, the cost of returned mailings to this mobile population can be significant.

  • Identification. Younger voters may not have a driver’s license, so what identification is required in order to preregister? Is an affidavit signed by a parent sufficient?

  • Location. Where should preregistration take place? Does the state need to work with the department of motor vehicles or with high schools?

  • Protected information. Consider whether information for preregistered voters should be protected and not provided on publicly available voter lists.

  • Education and outreach. How do get the word out that this option is available and reach out to potential young voters?

Related Resources

Elections Legislation: Recap and Preview | OAS Episode 179

NCSL elections expert Amanda Zoch runs down the trends in legislation affecting elections over the past few years, including how the pandemic affected access to early voting and voting by mail, legislation affecting elections officials and what voters had to say about statewide ballot measures related to elections.

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