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EAC Releases Report on Voter Registration PDF Print Email
By EAC Media Release   
July 01, 2009
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has released a report on voter registration statistics in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). It presents information provided by the states on the number of registered voters, the registration process and voter registration list maintenance. The full report can be dowloaded here, and the data are available here.

The report covers registration information from after the 2006 general election through the 2008 general election. The following highlights are among the findings. 
 -- States reported that a total of at least 189 million voters were eligible and registered for the November 2008 general election.

-- The number of new voter registration applications increased. Of the 60 million voter registration forms received, nearly 24.6 million of these applications were from new voters, up from 17.3 million reported in 2006.

-- A majority of voters registered by mail, fax or e-mail or through a motor vehicle agency. A plurality of voters (30.1%) applied for registration at motor vehicle agencies or by mail, fax or e-mail (28.8%). A significant number applied in person at elections offices (14.9%). A smaller number of applications were submitted through other state agencies (4.4%), advocacy groups (3.4%), public assistance agencies (1.6%), the Internet (1.1%), disability services offices (.2%), and armed forces recruitment offices (.1%). The remaining 15 percent are categorized by the states as "other sources."

-- 12.7 million inactive voters were removed from voter registration lists after the 2006 general election through the 2008 general election. The NVRA allows states to remove voters who have not voted in two consecutive federal general elections and failed to respond to a confirmation notice from an elections office. During the reporting period, states sent 18.3 million removal notices to voters. Of this number, 12.7 million inactive voters were removed from voter registration lists for reasons including death, felony conviction, failure to vote in two consecutive federal elections, moving, or at the voter's request.

-- Same-day registration. For the first time, the NVRA report includes information on same-day registration, which refers to registering to vote on the same day in which a vote may be cast. Seventeen states reported that 3.6 million of same-day registration applications were filed; of that amount, 963,144 new voters were added to the registration rolls.

About the report and the NVRA
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 directs the EAC to issue a report biennially on the impact of the NVRA on the administration of every federal election. This report is the eighth submitted to Congress and the third submitted by the EAC. NVRA reports are available on the EAC's Web site. The report is based on data provided by 50 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia, representing more than 4,500 jurisdictions. Established by Congress in 1993, the NVRA expanded the number of locations and opportunities where eligible citizens may apply to register to vote. It requires voter registration file maintenance procedures that, in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner, identify and remove the names of only those individuals who are no longer eligible to vote.

A note about the data
While the amount of data provided by the states to the EAC increases each year, caution must be exercised when interpreting data from this report and comparing it with data from any earlier election report as state data collection practices continue to evolve and vary from state to state.

In addition, the state of California recently informed the EAC that it will be providing updated voter registration data because several large California counties significantly underreported the number of NVRA voter registrations received during the reporting period. The EAC will provide this information as soon as we receive it from California.

The EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. The EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The three EAC commissioners are Gineen Bresso Beach, chair; Gracia Hillman, vice chair and Donetta Davidson. There is one vacancy on the Commission.
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