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. It is also known as same-day registration, the name also used in states that allow voters to register and vote during the early voting period before Election Day.

The majority of U.S. states still require voters 2–4 weeks before an election, with various deadlines (such as 30 days or 15 days). Election Day voter registration allows eligible citizens to register or update their registration on election day at the polls or their local election office by showing valid identification to a poll worker or election official, who checks the identification, consults the registration list and, if they are not registered or the registration is out of date, registers them on the spot.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. In 2012, Connecticut and California both enacted new laws to implement Election Day Registration. Connecticut started with its municipal elections in 2013. Colorado followed enacting EDR for the 2014 election. Illinois implemented a pilot in 2014 and made EDR permanent starting in 2015. Rhode Island also have Election Day registration for presidential elections. 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.)

Voter turnout is much higher in states using Election Day registration than in states that do not, even as more states like Illinois, Connecticut and Colorado have adopted it. According to official turnout data report in the 2014 edition of America Goes to the Polls, voter turnout in Election Day registration states has averaged 10–14 percent higher than states that don't have that option.[1]


In June 2011, the Maine legislature created 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.[2] The first measure was the target of a citizen referendum ("people's veto") titled Question 1 which was held in November 2011.[3] Maine voters reinstated Election Day registration with 59% in favor.[4]