Same Day Voter Registration

6/28/2019

Vote buttonAs of June 30, 2019, a total of 21 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted same day registration (SDR), which allows any qualified resident of the state to go to register to vote and cast a ballot all in that day. Note that North Carolina makes same day registration possible for a portion of the early voting period but not on election day. 

  • New Mexico has enacted legislation in 2019 (SB 672) but will implement it in phases over the next several years. 
  • Nevada (AB 345) enacted same-day voter registration in 2019.
  • Washington's same-day registration bill, enacted in 2018, is in effect as of June 30, 2019. 

In most other states, voters must register by a given deadline prior to Election Day. The deadline varies by state, with most falling between eight and 30 days before the election.

Table 1, at the bottom of this page, provides a detailed list of states with same day and election day registration. It includes statute citations, links to state resources, verification procedures, locations, and timeframes. Also, read the May 2013 issue of the Canvass for a FAQ on same day registration.

States with Same Day and Election Day Registration Longer description comes here ALAKAZAR CA CO CT DC DEFLGA HI ID IL IN IA KSKYLAME MD MA MIMNMSMO MT NENV NH NJ NM NY NC NDOHOKORPARISCSDTNTX UT VTVA WAWV WI WY PR MP GU AS VI

This map features the states with same day and election day registration. Hover over each state to learn more about specific guidelines. Note: ED means Election Day and EV means early voting in the map.

Legend:

States that have enacted same day registration, including on election day.

States that have allowed same day registration only during the early voting period.

States that have passed election day registration but have not implemented it.

How SDR Works

  • Proof of residency is a key requirement in all states that offer same day registration. In a traditional (pre-Election Day) registration, election officials have time to send a non-forwardable mailing to the prospective voter in order to verify the voter's residence before processing the registration application. Because that isn't possible with SDR, the prospective voter must present proof of residency at the time of registration or soon after registering. A current driver's license or ID card will suffice in all states. In some states, documents such as a paycheck or utility bill with an address is acceptable for proving residence. A few states also permit an already-registered voter to vouch for the residency of an Election Day registrant.
  • Voter ID: All of the SDR states also require that voters who register and vote on Election Day present documentation to verify their identity. Some states require a photo ID; others accept IDs without a photo.

Ensuring Security

All states employ various measures to ensure the security of same day voter registration. Many of the processes listed below are used in conjunction with one another. Common security measures include:

  • Proof of identity and residency. All states require prospective voters to show ID. Some states will allow a provisional ballot to be cast if the prospective voter cannot provide identification at the time of registration, but ID must be provided before it is counted in the election.
  • Casting of provisional ballots. Several states will count a ballot as provisional until proper ID is supplied or until the voter’s application is fully checked.
  • State-wide voter systems. These are used to check if the voter has already voted and to check ID. Such systems can provide real-time checks, while others are utilized after registration and voting. E-poll books often accompany this type of security measure.
  • Oaths and sworn affidavits. Several states require same day registrants to sign an affidavit or swear an oath that they are eligible to vote and have not already voted in the election.
  • Criminal penalties for fraudulent voting. Some states classify voting fraud as a felony, while others will refer suspected voting fraud to proper authorities to investigate.
  • In-person registration. States require the SDR voter to register and vote in person.
  • Non-forwardable mailings. If it is returned as non-deliverable or is not returned signed by the voter, a second notice is sent. The case may be forwarded to proper authorities for investigation after a second unsuccessful attempt to confirm the voter’s residency.
  • Restriction of location. Several states limit the locations where individuals can participate in SDR.
  • Cross-agency and interstate verification. Some states verify an applicant’s information with numerous other state agencies and even with interstate organizations.

Potential Costs

Same day registration procedures vary within states, and so costs vary as well. Some states indicate there is little to no additional cost in implementing same day registration, especially those that have had this option available for a long time. Some costs that may be associated with implementing same day registration include:

  • The purchase of additional equipment, which could include e-poll books or ballot-on-demand printers. Additional technology is not a requirement to implement same day registration, however, and Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and Vermont all report that they are not currently using e-poll books for this process.
  • If e-poll books are used, an additional cost may be associated with connecting to a network, either within the polling place or connecting to the statewide voter registration database. This may also be difficult in more rural areas.
  • Updates of the existing statewide voter registration system to accommodate same day registration.
  • Increased election staff or poll workers to process same day registrations. This extra administrative task can be time consuming at the same day registration site and verifying registration information after the election. Many states report this is more a reallocation of costs and resources, though, rather than an additional cost.

Effect on Turnout

There is strong evidence that same day and Election Day registration increases voter turnout, but the extent of the impact is difficult to conclude. Immediately following the implementation of SDR, states usually see a boost in voter numbers. Same day registration states also tend to outperform other states in terms of turnout percentages. Many states that have implemented SDR have historically produced higher voter numbers, making changes hard to gauge. Multiple studies place the effect between an increase of 3 to 7 percent, with an average of a 5 percent increase. Finally, studies reveal no conclusive evidence of whether SDR shapes partisan outcomes or whether certain populations are more likely to benefit.  

Details for Same Day and Election Day Registration States

State

Year Enacted

Timeframe

Locations

Verification Process

California

CA Elec Code § 2170

Conditional Voter Registration

2012

“Conditional voter registration” (CVR) is 14 days before an election through Election Day.

County election official offices, satellite locations, and all polling places in the county.

An elections official may offer a nonprovisional ballot to a registrant if they first verify that the registrant is eligbile, has not voted, and has not been included on a roster for that election in another county in the state. The election official must then update the voter's record to indicate that the voter has already voted. If these conditions do not apply then the voter is issued a provisional ballot. Checks are done through the statewide voter registration database (VoteCal) either through an e-poll book or by connecting to VoteCal back at the office. If CVR occurs on Election Day, wherever it takes place, the elections official will wait until all polling place ballots are logged before counting a CVR provisional ballot. An elections official has until the close of the canvass to count or reject a CVR provisional ballot.

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 1-2-217.7

Voter Registration FAQs

2013

Early voting period through Election Day.

Statewide vote centers. Any eligible voter can register or update voter registration from any county in the state. However, the voter’s unique ballot style will only be available within his/her county. A registered voter from an outside county will only receive a ballot for statewide races.

Voters are required to show a Colorado state driver’s license or ID card issued by the Department of Revenue, and complete and sign a self-affirmation and affidavit. Colorado developed its own e-poll book system that is networked to communicate with the statewide voter registration database in real time. All jurisdictions have access to the system to check that a new registrant has not registered or voted in a different county in the same election.

Connecticut

C.G.S.A. § 9-19j

Election Day Registration

2012

Election Day (not offered for primary elections)

Designated locations in each town (not at precinct polling places).

Proof of identity and residency is required.

The applicant must appear in person at the location. Applicant must, under oath, declare they have not voted previously in the election. Registrars check the state-wide centralized voter registration system. The applicant will also sign the ballot envelope confirming they are eligible to vote in the election.

District of Columbia

DC ST § 1-1001.07

DC Board of Elections Registration FAQ

2010

Election Day. Individuals may register after the 30th day preceding an election including on Election Day. They may only register and vote on Election Day.

Any voting location during the early voting period, and precinct polling place on Election Day.

Applicant must appear in person at the Board of Elections’ office. Applicant makes an oath and provides proof of residence and may provide any identification as required by federal, district, or board law/regulation including valid government ID, copy of current utility bill, bank statement, government check, pay check, or other documents specified by the board. E-poll books are networked and synchronized, and indicate if a voter has previously registered or voted. Voters who register on Election Day and cannot provide proof of residence must vote provisionally.

Hawaii

HRS § 11-15.2

Registration in Hawaii

2014

Early voting period through Election Day.

Precinct polling place or absentee polling place established in the county associated with a voter’s residence.

To register, applicants must provide their Hawaii Driver License, state I.D., last four digits of their social security number, or voter I.D., which will be confirmed when received by the clerk’s office. Applicant makes a sworn affirmation that they have not voted and are qualified to vote. Any applicant providing false information may be guilty of a Class C felony pursuant to state law.

Idaho

I.C. § 34-408A

Voter Registration FAQ

1994

Election Day

Precinct polling place where voter resides.

Voters doing same day registration are required to show a photo ID and proof of residence, i.e. a bill, bank statement, check stub, or any other document with their name and residence address within the precinct printed on it. Voters also complete an oath as prescribed by the secretary of state.

Illinois

10 ILCS 5/5-50

Registering to Vote in Illinois

2005 and 2015

“Grace period registration” is from the 27th day prior to the election through Election Day

Office of the election authority, at a permanent polling place, at any other early voting site beginning 15 days prior to the election, at a polling place on election day, or at a voter registration location specifically designated for this purpose by the election authority.

Two forms of identification with at least one showing current address. Driver’s license and university or collage ID can be one of the two, as can current utility bill, bank statement, pay check, government check, or other government document that shows name and address. Local election officials verify information of same-day registrants, usually after the election. If duplicate registrations and voting history are found, it would be up to each local official to provide that information to their local state’s attorney. If a voter is unable to provide the required identification would vote provisionally.

Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. §39A.2,

§48A.7a

Election Day Registration

2007

In-person absentee period through Election Day.

At the county auditor’s office or satellite voting location during in-person absentee period, and precinct polling place where voter resides on Election Day.

In order to register and vote on election day voters must show a current photo ID as well as current proof of residency. The applicant also completes a written oath. Counties do use e-poll books, but they are not connected to the statewide voter registration database. If a voter did register and vote at more than one location on election day it would be caught when vote credit is applied through the statewide voter registration database. Voting more than once is election misconduct in the first degree.

Maine

21-A M.R.S.A.

§112-A, §121-A, §122

Voter Registration in Maine

1973

Election Day, however there is no registration deadline when registering to vote in person at the town office or city hall. The deadline for mail registrations and voter registration drives is the 21st day before the election. 

In person at the town office or city hall prior to the election, and precinct polling place where voter resides on Election Day.

If a voter registers to vote on Election Day, and can show proof of identity and residency, then they vote a regular ballot. If they don’t show satisfactory proof, then they vote a provisional ballot. Real-time registration is not available, but if a voter attempts to register and vote in more than one location, the local election official would be alerted when trying to enter voting history after the election in the statewide voter registration database. The voter would be referred for prosecution for dual voting if applicable (Note that Maine has had election day registration since 1975 and has only had four prosecutions for double voting).

Maryland

MD Code, Election Law, § 3-305, 3-306

Voter Registration in Maryland

2013 and 2018

Early voting period through Election Day. (A legislatively referred constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to enact election day registration was approved by voters in November 2018).

Early voting locations and precinct polling place on Election Day. 

During the early voting period, Maryland partners with the Motor Vehicle Administration to obtain the drivers licenses of those who are eligible to register, but aren't in the statewide voter registration database. An individual would supply their driver's license to register and vote. If the individual doesn't have a driver's license they would vote via provisional ballot. E-poll books are networked together during the early voting period, but not on Election Day. Individuals appearing at a polling place on Election Day must provide proof of residency. If the voter is a resident of the precinct and is qualified to register, the voter is issued a regular ballot. If the voter is a resident of the county but not the precinct and is qualified to register to vote, the voter is issued a provisional ballot. 

Michigan

M.C.L.A. §168.497

Ballot Proposal 3

2018 Early voting period through Election Day. At the city or town clerk's office where the voter resides. An individual who applies to register to vote during this period must provide proof of residency in the city or township to vote a regular ballot. If an individual cannot provide proof of residency, the ballot is considered a provisional ballot and will be counted unless determined otherwise. 

Minnesota

M.S.A. §201.061

Register on Election Day

1974

Election Day.

Precinct polling place where voter resides, county offices, and in-person absentee voting centers.

Election Day registrants must provide proof of residence. Voting history and election day registrants are input simultaneously into the statewide voter registration database after the election. The system provides notifications if there is an indication that an individual voted before an election day registration, or if more than one Election Day registrations were input for the same individual. Data provided by an Election Day registrant is verified with the Division of Vehicle Services and/or the Social Security Administration, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety.

Montana

MCA 13-2-110

MCA 13-2-304

MCA 13-2-514

How to Register to Vote

2005

Late registration (after the registration deadline 30 days before an election) is available through Election Day (except between noon and 5:00 p.m. the day before the election) at county election offices.

County election office.

Local Election officials verify signatures and identification of voters. Anyone who transfers their registration on election day must do so at a central location and must vote a provisional ballot that is counted only if it is confirmed that the individual did not vote previously.

Nevada

AB 345 (2019)

2019 Early voting period through Election Day. Any polling location in the county or city, as applicable, in which the elector is eligible to vote. A voter must provide a current and valid driver's license or identification card issues by the Department of Vehciles which shows his or her physical address. If that card does not have the elector's current residential address, other documents containing the elector's current residential address may be used to establish residency. During early voting, it must be verified that the elector is qualified to register to vote in order to cast a regular ballot, or the voter must cast a provisional ballot. Voters registering on election day are conditionally registered and must vote a provisional ballot. County and city clerks must establish procedures, approved by the Secretary of State, for carrying out final verification to determine whether a person who cast a provisional ballot was qualified to register cast the ballot in the election. 

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. §654:7, §654:7-a

Registration in New Hampshire

1996

Election Day.

Town or city ward where the voter resides.

Voters must provide sufficient identification and proof of residency in order to receive a ballot. Those who present insufficient photo identification to get their picture taken at the polls and sign an affidavit. New Hampshire sends letters with return post cards to all who sign affidavits on election day, and submits to the attorney general all who fail to return signed post cards or whose letters are returned marked “undeliverable.” After the election, New Hampshire runs a variety of checks to identify potential double voters. A check is conducted against the statewide voter registration database to identify those that may have voted elsewhere in the state, and the Interstate Crosscheck to identify those that may have voted out-of-state. If found, double voters are referred to the attorney general for enforcement.

New Mexico

 

N.M. Stat. Ann.

2019 28 days prior to the election until the Saturday prior to Election Day. (Beginning January 1, 2021, a qualified voter can register on Election Day.) County election official offices  and alternate locations designated by the county election official

A voter looking to update their registration or register to vote and then during the same day registration period must provide either:

  • A New Mexico driver’s licenses or ID card issued by the DMV

  • Any document that contains a county address with a photo identification card; or

  • A current valid student ID from a post-secondary school in New Mexico and a current student fee statement that contains a county address

If an early voting site does not have real-time access to the statewide electronic voter file, the voter will be issued a provisional ballot.

North Carolina

N.C.G.S.A. § 163-865

One-Stop Early Voting and Same Day Registration

2007

Early voting period only.

Early voting locations determined by county.

Voters must attest to their eligibility and provide proof of residences. Within two business days of the person’s registration, the county board of elections will verify the registrant’s driver license or social security number, update the voter registration database, search for possible duplicate registrations, and proceed to verify the registrant’s address by mail. The registrant’s vote will be counted unless the county board of elections determines that he or she is not qualified to vote.

Utah

UCA 20A-2-207

2018 Early voting period and Election Day. Early voting locations and polling places. Voters may register to vote and vote via provisional ballot. Voters must provide valid voter identification and proof of residency, and the provisional ballot is counted at canvass if the voter has met the required qualifications. The ballot is not counted if the county clerk finds that the voter is not eligible for registration or not legally entitled to vote the ballot.

Vermont

17 V.S.A. §2144

Registration in Vermont

2015

Up to and including Election Day.

Town or city clerk’s office before the election, and precinct polling place where voter resides on Election Day.

Vermont has the ability to conduct a post-election audit that would identify any individual who registered and voted in more than one town in the same election. The results of that report would be sent to the Attorney General’s office for investigation and prosecution.

Washington

RCW 29A.08.140

 

 

2018 Up to and including Election Day. County auditor's office, a voting center, or other location designated by the county auditor  

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. §6.29

Voter Registration Guide

1975

Election Day.

Precinct polling place where voter resides.

All individuals must provide both a proof of residency document and proof of identification document to register on Election Day. The statewide voter registration system provides notification to local election officials to prevent duplicate registration records, although that process happens only after the registration is entered into the system which is usually after Election Day. Voting at two locations on Election Day is a felony offense.

Wyoming

Wy. Stat. §22-3-104

Registering to Vote

1994

Election Day.

Polling place or vote center, if vote centers are available in the county, or other location designated by the county clerk.

Applicants may vote a regular ballot if they are able to provide proof of identity and residency. Otherwise they are required to cast a provisional ballot. Every county that utilizes vote centers has its e-pollbooks networked securely through a VPN and several layers of encryption. E-poll books are used to check whether or not a potential registrant has already voted elsewhere.

Table Notes:

  • The table above was compiled from information provided by State Election Directors or State Election Offices, and additional research conducted by NCSL staff.
  • In Rhode Island, voters who missed the voter registration deadline may vote on Election Day for the offices of President and Vice President only. This is done at the office of the Board of Canvassers, not at the polling place. Rhode Island is not included in the table above.

Additional Resources