Election Day voter registration

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In some states of the United States, Election Day voter registration (also known as EDR) permits eligible citizens to register to vote when they arrive to vote on Election Day. Registration day voting allows people to vote when they register to vote on a day near but prior to the date of the general election. Either of these can be referred to as same-day registration.[1]

Most U.S. states require voters to register before an election, with various deadlines (such as 30 days or 15 days before an election). Election Day voter registration allows eligible citizens to register on election day by showing valid identification to a poll worker, who checks the identification, consults the registration list and, if they are not registered, registers them on the spot.

Eleven states currently have some form of Election Day voter registration: Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington DC. Montana began Election Day voter registration in 2006, and Iowa in 2008. Connecticut and Rhode Island also have Election Day registration for presidential elections. In 2012, Connecticut and California both enacted new laws to implement Election Day Registration. Colorado and Illinois followed enacting EDR for the 2014 election. Connecticut started with its municipal elections in 2013. California will start in 2015 or once it has implemented its statewide voter registration database. (North Dakota, unique among the states, has no voter registration requirement at all.)

Newly popular early voting programs sometimes work in concert with Registration-Day voting. While not allowing registration on Election Day itself (the last day to vote), the state of Ohio offers a "one-stop" voting period where voters can register and then vote early.[2]

Voter turnout is much higher in states using Election Day registration than in states that do not. In the 2004 presidential election, voter turnout in same-day voter registration states was 12 percent higher than states that did not;[3] in the 2006 midterm elections, states with same-day voter registration had turnout rates 10-12 percent higher than in other states.[4]


In June 2011, the Maine legislature passed a law that ended Election Day voter registration, which had been in place since 1973. It also banned absentee voting during the two business days before an election.[5] The first measure was the target of a citizen referendum ("people's veto") which was held in November 2011.[6] Maine voters reinstated Election Day registration with 59% in favor.[7]