If states are laboratories of democracy, then Same Day Registration is increasingly being seen as a powerful prescription for expanding the freedom to vote. Last week, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado signed into law the Colorado Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, a major provision of which will allow voters to both register to vote and cast a ballot on Election Day and during the state’s early voting period (Same Day Registration). The victory came on the heels of months of strategic negotiation and advocacy by Colorado groups, closely supported by Demos and other national allies.
On May 2, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a similar measure, allowing for Same Day Registration during the state’s early voting period. And Delaware Governor Jack Markell has gotten behind an SDR bill introduced in his state on April 30.
Same Day Registration helps to ensure that all Americans get an equal say in our democracy by allowing residents to register and vote concurrently. Read our Explainer on Same Day Registration to find out why and how it helps our democracy.
Here's the status of Same Day Registration throughout the country:
Sadly, voting rights opponents are also seeing Same Day Registration’s potential, and are moving to end the reform in several SDR states. Last month, Montana lawmakers voted to put an SDR repeal question before the voters on the November 2014 ballot. In North Carolina, the conservative majority is championing a string of voter suppression measures that would eliminate Same Day Registration, impose a strict voter ID requirement, and shorten the state’s early voting periods.
Passage could undo the impressive voting rights advances of recent years, particularly among African Americans. Forty-one percent of the quarter-million North Carolinians who used SDR to vote in the 2012 presidential election were African American, more than twice their share of the state’s voting age population. Nearly fifty percent of African Americans who voted in 2012 did so during the early voting period. In Wisconsin, Republican legislators announced in December their intent to end the state’s 37-year tradition of Same Day Registration.
Demos will continue to hold our nation to a higher standard as we work to empower people who are being left out of the process of making decisions for the direction of the country. In addition to fighting back, we continue to push affirmative voting measures like Same Day Registration to protect the freedom to vote for all citizens, regardless of race or privilege.
Thanks for all that you do,
State Advocacy Director