United States Election Assistance Comittee

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EAC Releases Voter Registration Report

Posted on June 27, 2011

EAC Releases Voter Registration Report

Washington – 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 on the number of registered voters, the registration process and voter registration list maintenance. The full report and accompanying data sets are available at www.eac.gov/registration-data/.

The report covers registration information from after the 2008 general election through the 2010 mid-term election. The following highlights are among the findings.

  • Voter registration decreased during the two years leading up to the 2010 elections. The total number of voters reported to be eligible and registered for the November 2010 elections was nearly 187 million, a decrease of more than 3.6 million from the 2008 elections. Yet it was an increase of about 14 million voters from the last midterm election in 2006.

  • States and territories reported receiving more than 45 million voter registration forms. Use of the mail (or fax or e-mail) was up from the previous election cycle, with 21% of registration forms being delivered through these means. Another 14.5% of applications were made in person at elections offices, and 37% through motor vehicle agencies. Seventeen states reported receiving voter registration applications over the Internet, which accounted for nearly 2% of all registration forms.

  • Of the 45 million voter registration forms received, nearly 14.4 million of these applications were from new voters; that is, voters who were not previously registered in the local jurisdiction or had not previously registered in any jurisdiction (there were fewer than 24.6 million new registrants during the 2006 to 2008 election cycle and 17.3 million during the 2004 to 2006 election cycle).

  • States and territories found invalid or otherwise rejected nearly 1.4 million applications, and found that 2.9 million applications were duplicates of existing registrations. Altogether, 9.4% of registration applications were invalid or duplicates.

  • States and territories sent 14.6 million removal confirmation notices to names on their registration rolls, as allowed by NVRA after two cycles of voter inactivity. More than 15 million voters were removed from voter registration lists, for reasons including death, felony conviction, failure to respond to a confirmation notice and failure to vote in consecutive elections, having moved from one jurisdiction to another, or at the voter’s request.

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. 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 4,600 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.

EAC also administers the National Mail Voter Registration Form, which can be used by citizens to register to vote, update registration information due to a change of name or address, or register with a political party. The form is available in seven languages.

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.

EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. 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 two EAC commissioners are Gineen Bresso and Donetta Davidson. There are two vacancies on the commission.