06 Apr Online Voter Registration Helps Voters And Administrators
In 2014, the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration released a report with best practices to improve voter experience and promote confidence in the administration of elections.
Many of the recommendations have been implemented in Doña Ana County, and we have been engaged with the Legislature to implement others, including online voter registration. This year the Legislature unanimously passed a bill that directs the Secretary of State to implement online voter registration statewide by 2017.
Online voter registration is an invaluable tool in at least 19 states for managing accuracy, reducing costs of list maintenance, and improving voter experience. New Mexico can now learn from their experiences as it implements its own process.
Online registration will reduce the potential for error, increase the accuracy of the rolls, reduce lines and congestion at the polling location, improve the voter experience by updating records immediately, and increase the integrity of our system.
Election administrators in New Mexico currently do not have access to modern data-matching techniques used by private industry and other government agencies to compare records and minimize inaccuracies caused by Americans’ mobility. We react to incoming information from voters and third-party organizations, if it comes to us at all. Much of the information is incomplete and it usually comes to us in a concentrated period right before an election. Once we receive complete paper information, we enter it manually into the voter systems, increasing the potential for errors.
Online registration upgrades the system by streamlining the process and saving money, while enhancing the integrity of the data. Encouraging and increasing online registration will allow the Bureau of Elections to phase out many laborious, wasteful and error-prone procedures and use sophisticated technology to improve the accuracy, integrity, and cost-effectiveness of the registration process.
Studies of online registration show that younger voters are more likely to register when online tools are available There is also evidence that turnout may be higher among those registering online than those who register on paper. It also removes barriers to participation by voters with disabilities.
Finally, if done right, online registration allows third parties to utilize widgets on their own websites that seamlessly integrate through a direct portal with the state’s registration list. This enables outside groups to empower users of their websites to register directly into the state’s system, thus strengthening the integrity of the third-party registration process as it exists today.
In Doña Ana County we are interested in your feedback. Your election experience matters to us. Visit www.dacelections.com and share your ideas to help us improve.