The Secretaries of State in both Ohio and Maine have joined members of the NC Senate in advocating for the end of Same Day Registration in their states. The practice allows voters to register to vote and then immediately vote at the polling place, leaving overworked election officials unable to accurately verify the voters’ identities. 12 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of Same Day Registration.
When North Carolina implemented the practice in 2008 into early voting, the normal verification process was basically ignored. NC Senate Bill 657 addresses these issues by eliminating Same Day Registration and shortening the timeframe for early in-person voting.
Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers said the combination of early voting and same day registration was hurting his department’s ability to conduct an accurate election. Testifying before Maine state legislators, he said the law needed to allow for more flexibility on the part of election workers.
“We have identified a growing pressure on our municipalities that risks overtaxing our electoral structure if it is not addressed,” said Summers.
“Municipal clerks are facing a growing trend of last-minute registration and absentee ballot requests. Year by year, the work load clerks face has gone from being manageably spread-out to being concentrated in the final days of the election.”
Like North Carolina, Ohio only allows for Same Day Registration during early voting, with the distinction that Ohio only allows this for one week, known as the “golden week”. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted advocated ending the practice, saying in a statement that this allows for “bypassing important safeguards in the system”.
In a February statement, Husted said his package of electoral reforms, known as “Ready 2012 And Beyond” would benefit the electoral process in his state. The proposal also cuts back on early voting dates.
“A well-run system of elections requires the right balance between voter access and accuracy, and I believe the changes I am proposing will go a long way to help achieve that balance,” Husted said.
Despite claims from our State Board of Elections that voter fraud is nearly nonexistent and that status quo is fine, their counterparts in Maine and Ohio have woken up to the potential dangers of same day registration. As Civitas has noted, this one stop voting, when combined with North Carolina’s nonexistent Voter ID laws and early in-person voting, is a recipe for voter fraud. NC Senate Bill 657, like the proposals in Maine and Ohio, is a strong effort to strengthen citizens’ confidence in their election results and guard the integrity of their votes.