EAC Releases Report on Voter Registration
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
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
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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