Home > elections, government and politics, Pew State and Consumer Initiatives, political process > Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade

Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade

February 16, 2012

Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade
Source: Pew Center on the States

Our democratic process requires an effective system for maintaining accurate voter registration information. Voter registration lists are used to assign precincts, send sample ballots, provide polling place information, identify and verify voters at polling places,and determine how resources, such as paper ballots and voting machines, are deployed on Election Day. However, these systems are plagued with errors and inefficiencies that waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence, and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections.

Voter registration in the United States largely reflects its 19th-century origins and has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society. States’ systems must be brought into the 21st century to be more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient.

Research commissioned by the Pew Center on the States highlights the extent of the challenge:

  • Approximately 24 million—one of every eight—active voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.
  • More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.
  • Approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more than one state.

Meanwhile, researchers estimate at least 51 million eligible U.S. citizens are unregistered, or more than 24 percent of the eligible population.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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