Data “Deep Dive” Shows Impact of Technology, Policy Changes on Voter Registration

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Silver Spring, Md. – The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today released what will be the first in a series of “deep dives” into election administration trends and voting behavior ahead of the 2018 election cycle. The first brief focuses on the impact of technology, methods of voter enrollment and list maintenance techniques on voter registration. It analyzes data from the 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), the most comprehensive survey on election administration in the United States identifying national, state, and local trends.

“How citizens get on voter rolls and how these rolls are maintained by election officials is a critical part of the voting process,” said EAC Director of Research Sean Greene, who leads the EAVS. “Ahead of the 2018 election cycle, more voters than ever will have opportunities to register and update their information online, and more states will offer same-day registration and implement automatic voter registration. Officials should consider what these new developments mean for their own jurisdictions and how they impact election administration.”

Among the findings of the new brief are:

  • Of the 65 million accepted voter registration applications nationwide, nearly half were current registrants updating their information.
  • The plurality of registration transactions in the 2016 election cycle was the result of people updating their information, not new registrations.
  • Oregon, the first state to enact automatic voter registration, registered nearly 375,000 people through this process from January 2016 through July 31, 2017.
  • The second most common way for people to apply for or update a registration was through state online voter registration systems.

The EAC conducts the EAVS to meet its Help America Vote Act of 2002 charge to serve as a national clearinghouse and resource for the compilation of information with respect to the administration of federal elections. Additionally, the EAVS fulfills EAC data collection requirements contained in both the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

For more information about the EAVS Deep Data Dives or to speak with Greene, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at or 202-897-9285.

Read the full EAVS Deep Dive on Voter Registration.

Read the 2016 EAVS REPORT

Visit the 2016 EAVS WEBPAGE containing state-specific data and other resources



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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit