May 7, 2009

Modernizing Our Voter Registration System Could Eliminate Millions in Wasteful Spending

A NEW WashPIRG Education Fund study estimated that over $33,467,910.00 of public money from 100 counties was spent on simple registration implementation and error-correction issues in 2008.

That boils down to more than $86,977.00 of the elections budget in counties with populations fewer than 50,000, over $248,091.00 in counties of 50,000 to 200,000 people, and $1,079,610.00 in jurisdictions of 200,000 to 1,000,000 people. Some of the largest counties in the study spent far more than this, for example St Louis County with a population of 995,118, conservatively spent over 3 million dollars on registration implementation and issues in the 2008 cycle.

“Too much time, effort, and money is spent at the local level reacting to and paying for our paper-driven, mistake-riddled registration process. Our system creates challenges for local officials and wastes taxpayer dollars,” says WashPIRG Advocate Blair Anundson.

Our local election officials should be able to use the funds that our counties allot for the actual administration of elections, rather than for the endless data-entry and error correction processes created by our current registration system.

The WashPIRG Education Fund recommends implementing a modernized automatic registration system to help eliminate some of the burdens local officials bear and to reallocate funds to enable local officials to more effectively administer our elections.

Anundson added, “It is time to put these taxpayer dollars into activities that promote our democracy instead of into entering registration forms.”

MY QUICK TAKE: The voter registration system in America is in need of repair and we should move to some type of universal national voter registration system. The current system is too costly and too error prone. But most importantly, too many voters are disenfranchised.

See Also a Pew Charitable Trusts Report Here >

And Majority Rules Blog Here >

Contact Blair Anundson for more information (a WashPIRG Consumer and Democracy Advocate) at Also, thanks to Blair who shared the information for this post.

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