Same-day Voter Registration

By Rep. Ben Cannon (D-Portland). [Editor's note: Yesterday's post about the "5 under 35" legislative agenda generated lots of questions about same-day vote registration, so we asked Ben Cannon to tell us more.]

Tomorrow, the Legislature will hold hearings on House Joint Resolution 43, a Constitutional referral to pave the way toward same-day registration in Oregon. Ever since 1986, Oregon's Constitution has stipulated a 20-day voter registration cutoff – meaning that someone who gets around to registering only a week or two before the election will find that he or she is too late.

Oregon's early registration cutoff has serious consequences for the openness, fairness, and accessibility of our elections system. Young people are particularly impacted, since they are more likely to be first-time registrants, they move more frequently, and they are perhaps less likely to be paying attention months before Election Day. In 2004, Oregon's 18-24 year-olds were 28% less likely to vote than those aged 25 and up (49% versus 77%), constituting the largest gap between young voter turnout and general voter turnout in the country.

Not surprisingly, the seven states that operate same-day-registration experience some of the highest turnout rates in the country. In Minnesota, overall voter turnout was 78% in 2004, and youth turnout was 69%. Wisconsin, Maine, and New Hampshire – all same-day registration states – are not far behind. On average, same-day registration boosts youth voter turnout by 14 percentage points in Presidential elections.

Same-day registration has advantages besides increasing voter turnout. Under the current system, candidates can forget about non-registered voters during the final weeks of the election. Same-day registration would require them to continue reaching out to potential voters, even ones who haven't yet shown up on the voter rolls.

The Oregonian's editorial board wrote on Sunday:

With its mail-ballot elections, Oregon's turnout is consistently good. But it could be much better with same-day registration. Every election, in every county in this state, voters are turned away because they miss the 20-day registration deadline.

There's no longer any good reason to keep denying the vote to people who are ready, eager and otherwise eligible. This shouldn't be a partisan issue -- no elected official, of any political persuasion, ought to favor a law that does nothing but suppress voter turnout.

As we have noted before, it is much easier to buy a handgun in this state than it is to vote. Oregon has an instant-check system that will let you walk out of the store with a gun in a few minutes. But if you want to vote in an election, Oregon requires a 20-day waiting period.

That makes no sense. Lawmakers should approve HJR 43, and allow Oregon voters to change their constitution to allow same-day registration.

Oregonians are justifiably proud of our vote-by-mail system, which has done much to increase access to elections. Same-day registration would help our heritage of expanding citizen participation in governance. It is the missing link in making Oregon's system the most accessible, fair, and safe in the country.

The House Elections, Ethics, and Rules Committee will hold a public hearing on HJR 43 at 8:30am on Wednesday, March 21 at the Capitol, Hearing Room E. Public testimony is welcome and encouraged. If you are unable to make the trip but would like to submit written testimony, please be in touch with my office at [email protected]

Comments

  • (Show?)

    They have had this in Wisconsin at least since I started voting 26 yrs. ago---hasn't seemed to hurt the democratic process there.

  • JMG (unverified)
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    Hooray for you. Seriously. Good idea.

    I was in Wisconsin at the University in fall of 1980, fresh out of the Navy. It was only when I woke up to the threat Reagan posed and realized that this clown might actually get elected that I realized that I could vote and do something about it--so, on election day, I hiked over to the polls, got registered and voted in minutes. What a great system. The election worked out badly, but I sure appreciated being able to put my two cents in.

    In America, you can get a mortgage approval over the phone, lease an airplane or a car on line and pick it up that day, spend thousands in an instant in a store and state you've never been in. Exactly why can't we register on the day of the election?

    The most infuriating thing about mandatory registration delays is that they operate against human psychology, which creates the most interest in voting precisely as the election approaches. In other words, registration waiting periods mean that, right as the media coverage peaks and the ads are inescapable, those who want to register and vote are told "Sorry, you can't play."

    The other thing you could do is add a requirement for voter registration to the list of requirements for obtaining a GED or high school diploma.

    (Even better would be mandatory ballot returns--that is, every Oregonian over 18 MUST be sent and return a ballot by mail, whether they vote or not. So it's not quite mandatory voting--but it's a system that makes sure that the QVF is kept up to date and that the addresses are updated. This puts the burden on government, where it belongs, rather than on the voter.)

    We never have to register to pay taxes---why should we even have to register to vote? Every citizen is now required to have a social security number within a few years of birth or upon naturalization--so why doesn't that translate into immediate voter registration?

  • Jason Skelton (unverified)
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    This is great policy. Thanks for all the work. Thank goodness you are my legislator!

  • (Show?)

    This is a great idea.

    I have two ideas: first, let's put this on the ballot prior to the fall 2008 ballot so we can have same day registration for the Presidential.

    Second, under Oregon's unique system of vote by mail, there is no way to manage registration up to the election day except how Counties currently manage updates to registrations. Between 20 days out and election day, if you want to vote, you have to go to an elections office and get a ballot on the spot. If individuals or groups think they can mail in voter registration cards until any closer to the election AND expect ballots to get mailed out/have time to be returned, they are in for a surprise. If this isn't implemented, I fear people will think they are registered yet ultimately not be able to vote, which may further discourage them from voting and other civic engagement. Maybe this isn't part of the constitutional fix (can come in statute or maybe even rule later?), but should be addressed.

    Good work Rep. Cannon!

  • HalfTheStory (unverified)
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    Rep. Cannon:

    Would you and your four colleagues extend the respect to the electorate of going over to the thread that resulted in the invitation to you to poste here,

    http://www.blueoregon.com/2007/03/five_under_35_a.html

    and address ALL of the questions about VBM?

    As a strong supporter and long-time advocate of same day registration, I assert that you will cheat us out of the real value of same day registration, namely capturing the of-the-moment enthusiasm of young voters in elections that matter (such as the 2004 Presidential election), that results in those huge increases you cite, if you don't cause the state to examine whether the isolating nature of consumerist-approach to voting VBM represents frustrates or encourages that enthusiasm.

    Furthermore, I assert you will cheat us out of the value of same day registration in bringing voters from social groups that would vote irregularly, or not at all, if you don't cause the state to examine whether or how VBM works to the disadvantage of irregular voters, for whatever reason they are irregular voters.

    There has been no study published by the state addressing these very real questions. Indeed the two studies on the SOS website together carefully avoid these questions and it is not unreasonable to ask if that was done intentionally. I would also ask you to just read our election law, and note how the M60 amendments actually contradict, or otherwise fly in the face, of the many good election practices in line with the best practices of other states that still remain in the law

    You, sir, are no leader, and you dishonor your own purported over-arching goal of increasing participation, if you lack the courage to ask the hard questions simply because VBM is popular with that segment of the population who might not approve of you challenging their self-serving preferences.

  • Faolan (unverified)
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    Dear HalftheStory,

    I would submit to you that your voice would reach more people and be more well understood if you spent some time reading your own posts before you submitted them. I had a real hard time discerning what you were saying.

    Add to that the fact that you were needlessly confrontational makes your point very weak in my opinion.

    Dear Ben,

    I am very pleased that you are my representative. I hope to see more of this sort of thing from you and the others of the 5 under 35. Keep up the good work. I would like to reinforce part of Half's point. There are indeed weaknesses in the Vote by Mail system and it would be great if you could examine the process more closely.

    Random sample hand ballot counting would make me feel a lot better.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    Given the tremendously similar writing styles, I submit to readers that Half The Story is the same person who posted to another thread recently using the name Morons, and is also the same person who used to post as AskQuestions1st. S/he is obviously a vigorous opponent of vote by mail (which BTW is not supposed to be the topic of this thread), and is someone who has a lot of interesting points to make, but unfortunately chooses to make them in a consistently confrontational way by slinging insults and questioning people's sincerity.

    Personally, I view Blue Oregon as a tremendous resource for learning about and discussing issues of public policy. It seems that some readers view Blue Oregon, in contrast, as primarily a place to vent their anger and frustration.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    "they move more frequently, and they are perhaps less likely to be paying attention months before Election Day."

    And these are the people you want to make sure vote at the last minute? Those that are completely un-infomred and haven't cared enough about thier State to plan their own life 3 weeks in advance to register?

  • Adam Petkun (unverified)
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    We'll be bringing some busfolk up/down to salem tomorrow morning to support this bill. Sign up over at our website if you want a ride!

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    Dan: And these are the people you want to make sure vote at the last minute? Those that are completely un-infomred and haven't cared enough about thier State to plan their own life 3 weeks in advance to register?

    Dan, since you're going to put it that way, please provide a detailed list of all the people whom you would like to see disenfranchised. If you don't want to give people's names, it would be adequate for you to list rough generalities: things like socioeconomic class, educational level, and ethnicity, say. If we're going to intentionally disenfranchise people, let's make the process transparent and systematic. Apparently you have already given this some thought. Please share with us.

  • (Show?)

    Adam--

    Great to hear it. I just signed up to head down to Salem with you guys. Now I just have to reschedule my meetings tomorrow so I can go and testify.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Lin,

    save the "disenfranchised" victim card for another hand.

    YOU are the one who introduced "socioeconomic class, educational level, and ethnicity" into this post, not me.

    As a society, we have laid down some requirements. One of them is you must be 18 years of age. Why not eliminate that one? Shouldn't my 10 year old be able to vote? Allow felons serving time in the big house a vote. Right now, convited murderers sitting on Death Row have been seriously disenfranshised by removing their right to vote. Does that bug you? Illegal aliens can't vote either, because they aren't US citizens. So yes, we have made decisions.

    I'm all for people voting. I'm also all for people driving, as long as they receive their drivers license first.

    I would agree with the above poster who stated the wisdom in simply requiring voter registration at the time of driver license issuance. This would solve the problem.

  • (Show?)

    For starters, the DMV would actually need to turn in those voter registrations. Yet they regularly fail to do so.

    Until they do, I am 100% against tying voter registrations and drivers licenses together. It's already an option at the DMV, and many of those never make it into the voter registration database.

    Those that are completely un-infomred and haven't cared enough about thier State to plan their own life 3 weeks in advance to register?

    Many of the people already voting don't even pay attention until the final weeks of voting. We wouldn't need to do so much voter persuasion and GOTV (get out the vote) efforts if that wasn't the case.

    But it isn't until you don't receive a ballot that many people realize there is something wrong with their registration. At that point it is too late to vote. Opening that up so people can go in, register, and then pick up a ballot is a good thing.

    I'm all for finding new ways we can help those who are legally entitled to vote to have the chance to vote.

  • machinepolitics (unverified)
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    How about publishing running election counts begining as soon as the first VBM vote is received?

    The news stations could report the daily counts like running scores.

    With that, we could decide whether we really need to bother "encouraging" all the people who would rather be watching MTV. (Plus it would be so much easier to convince the disinterested that their vote would make a difference).

    Why should we waste continue to waste resources trying to get the uninformed to cast votes where we have the means to figure out that we already have a win (or loss) wrapped up?

    Wouldn't that cut down on the cost of campaigning and reduce the influence of big donors?

    We're better off concentrating $$ and shoe leather for the close fights instead of paying political consultants and pollsters to keep feeding our fears down to the wire.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    Dan:

    I'm not playing any cards. But I will now analyze the way you cherry-picked and quoted the original posting out of context.

    The original posting included the following:

    Young people are particularly impacted, since they are more likely to be first-time registrants, they move more frequently, and they are perhaps less likely to be paying attention months before Election Day.

    You discarded everything from "Young" to "registrants", which right off the back elimiated the context (young people--think about students and others who do, in fact, move frequently. I sure did when I was in college). You then pretty clearly implied that the "uninformed" should not be allowed to vote when you wrote this:

    And these are the people you want to make sure vote at the last minute? Those that are completely un-infomred and haven't cared enough about thier State to plan their own life 3 weeks in advance to register?

    It seems glaringly obvious that you believe that whomever YOU judge to be uninformed should not be allowed to vote, just as those under 18 years of age are not allowed to vote. So I am once again asking that you SPECIFY who should not be allowed to vote. As "informed" seems to be a critical criterion for you, please specify how we, collectively, should decide who is "informed" enough to vote.

    I really don't care if you list names, socioeconomic groups, or whatever.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    <snark>Perhaps a literacy test?</snark>

  • VOTE NOW (unverified)
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    I am a huge advocate for same day voter registration for one simple reason. Voting in Oregon is vary easy and we have a very easy voter registration process and a highly educated and motivated voting population compared to the rest of the country and in 2004 we only had the second highest voter turnout in the country. Minnisota beat us with thier Same day voter registration, I want same day voter registration and i want oregon to have the highest voter turnout in the country because i want to know that i live in a state that wants every eligble voter to vote and will do whatever it can to make sure that they can. I want to liver in a state where every eligble voter wants to particiapte and feels that their vote matters and is willing to do whatever needs to be done to make that they vote and i believe that Same Day Voter Registration is important to achieving both those goals.

  • (Show?)

    Many of the people already voting don't even pay attention until the final weeks of voting.

    For most races/issues my observation is that most voters don't pay much attention until the final weeks before they vote.

    Futhermore, the mechanics of registration and the process of making oneself into an informed voter for a given election have little to nothing in common. It's perfectly possible to be very well informed about candidates and issues and not manage to get registered within three weeks before an election.

    We once had same-day voter registration and it worked just fine. Then the Rajneeshi dragged some homeless people to Antelope in buses in a blatant move to commit voter fraud and instead of dealing with the fraud we created the waiting period. We used shotgun to scratch an itch and have been pulling pellets out of our hides ever since. It's way past time to remedy that.

    Rep. Cannon, thanks for taking it on.

  • (Show?)

    Note to halfaskedmorons1st:

    If you want to pontificate at length about vote-by-mail on BlueOregon a handy mechanism exists that does not require hijacking threads on other subjects.

    Submit a guest post under your real name.

    You appear to have convictions. Rustle up some courage to go with them.

  • (Show?)

    With that, we could decide whether we really need to bother "encouraging" all the people who would rather be watching MTV.

    I am so sick and tired of these types of descriptions used for young people. MTV is much more aimed at teenagers (those under the age of 18). "Young" when used in respect to voting typically means those 18-35.

    We have a lot more happening in our lives than watching MTV. We're going to college. We're working. We're trying to figure out how to afford to raise a family and still be able to actually raise the family -- not stick them in a daycare all day. We're trying to figure out how to buy our first house and get out of renting. We have a lot more substance to our lives than MTV.

    Why should we waste continue to waste resources trying to get the uninformed to cast votes where we have the means to figure out that we already have a win (or loss) wrapped up?

    There is no way of knowing this until after the polls close. While we can get a running count of the number of ballots turned in, the secrecy envelopes are not opened until Election Day. Results don't start coming in until after the polls close.

    So there is no way to tell if we've won or lost. And there's no way to tell an informed voter from an uninformed voter without talking to them. Uninformed voters come from all neighborhoods, ethnic groups, and ages.

    Besides, unless we continue talking to those groups who don't vote regularly and showing them someone does care and that their vote does matter, things will never change.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    As a society, we have laid down some requirements. One of them is you must be 18 years of age. Why not eliminate that one? Shouldn't my 10 year old be able to vote? Allow felons serving time in the big house a vote. Right now, convited murderers sitting on Death Row have been seriously disenfranshised by removing their right to vote. Does that bug you? Illegal aliens can't vote either, because they aren't US citizens.

    I agree with you, none of those are good reasons to remove people's right to vote.

    I think lowering the voting age to 16 would be a very positive. It would be good for kids to get into the voting habit while they are still in high school. If we let them drive, why not let them vote. Its a lot less dangerous.

    I don't see any reason to remove someones voting rights when they are convicted of a crime. The only real issue is letting them vote in the community where the prison is located. In some places the prison population would run the community.

    As for "illegal aliens" I am not sure what that is. Does that mean someone who is working without a work visa, or do they have to lack any documents? I see nothing wrong with letting people who live here vote, whether they are citizens or not. They pay taxes, why shouldn't they get to vote on how they are spent?

    But before we move on to making the changes you suggest, I think letting people register through election day makes sense. The one issue is how to validate their registration information before counting their ballot.

    Rajneeshi dragged some homeless people to Antelope in buses in a blatant move to commit voter fraud

    They weren't dragged, they were invited. The problem was that there was no fraud unless you could prove those homeless folks were not really permanent residents. I thought the Rajneeshi's were claiming they intended to create a permanent settlement for the homeless at Antelope and this was the first wave of recruits.

  • (Show?)

    The one issue is how to validate their registration information before counting their ballot.

    It's done with provisional ballots. These ballots are only counted once information is confirmed.

    These were used quite a bit in 2004, before the state had its statewide voter database. If someone came into the Multnomah County Elections Division, claiming they'd moved from Marion County and had been a registered voter there, they would be issued a provisional ballot.

    MC Elections would then call or fax the county in question with a listing of voters. Upon verification that the person could indeed vote, the ballot was counted. If through the investigation they found the person was not eligible to vote, the ballot was not counted.

    This is why there is a span of a few weeks between Election Day and Election Certification Day. This gives county elections offices time to verify voters and determine if their provisional ballots should be counted.

  • (Show?)

    They weren't dragged, they were invited. The problem was that there was no fraud unless you could prove those homeless folks were not really permanent residents. I thought the Rajneeshi's were claiming they intended to create a permanent settlement for the homeless at Antelope and this was the first wave of recruits.

    I understood that what they claimed and what they did were two different things. In any case, in a similar circumstance in the future, if the permanent housing for the homeless turns out to be real then there was no problem and that result could just as well be achieved by opening your homeless housing 21 days before the election. On the other hand, if a large number of people are bused into a small community right before an election, register to vote, and then weeks later almost all of them are gone you should be able to structure things to make aiding that fraud prosecutable and invalidate the election if the scope is large enough to have influenced the outcome. Whether or not there is a waiting period, you have to be a resident of Oregon to register to vote in Oregon.

  • (Show?)

    Now that's a first. People arguing over the Rajneeshees on BlueOregon. Hot damn. Old school.

  • gt (unverified)
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    I would like to see the age at 16 for voting but I don't agree that we should have no waiting period. There needs to be some sort of verification system so voter fraud doesn't happen. I think voter registration should be linked to the nationalID system and everyone should be fingerprinted and required to show their ID when they vote. Then they need to do the same for food stamps and all transactions to eliminate THAT fraud, too. This system we have is so old school and backasswards

  • (Show?)

    There is a verification system. And those who get their ballots after the current deadline will have to go through the same process as they would have if they'd registered early. Their ballots would just be "provisional" and would only count once the voter was verified.

  • gt (unverified)
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    you call THAT verification? Give me a break. Anyone can take a ballot, scribble a signature and drop it in the mail. That hardly seems like a verification system. This is an 18th century balloting system. We need to get with the program!

  • HalfTheStory (unverified)
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    Jenni, you are really a piece of work.

    You mention one the major potentially disenfranchising aspects of VBM that VBM opponents have long cited:

    But it isn't until you don't receive a ballot that many people realize there is something wrong with their registration. At that point it is too late to vote.

    You also go on at length, and repeatedly, as purporting to be defending the interest of younger voters (and the egotism in your repeated comments about that is starting to make it not ring so true) by citing just how staggeringly inconveniencing young voters allegedly find voting in polling place elections. So much so that you offer that as defense of VBM, and then rationalize that you co-opt same day registration as a way to patch the system rather than actually look at whether and how what we would have is still a bad system because of VBM.

    In frank summary: Because folks like you put a higher value on what VBM offers you, and you only believe VBM offers others (if they conform to you image of what they should be) you are willing to devalue the much higher level of inconvenience to some, even with same day registration, which you have admitted translates to some degree of disenfranchisement.

    Let's look at what a voter has to do in a VBM system, even with same-day registration:

    1) Pay attention that one didn't receive a mail-in ballot;

    2) Take time out of their day to go down to a central registration site during the normal business hours to try to correct what happen (yea I know the hours can/could be extended on election day) and cast a vote;

    3) Make sure you do this every election because, if you miss several elections for what ever reason including just not receiving a ballot for due to a random delivery problem, your registration becomes inactive;

    Now compare that to what a voter has to do in a polling place election:

    1) Not do anything in the run up to election day except realize it is election day because everywhere they turn that day they hear "it's election day" or see "Election Day, Vote Here" signs;

    2) Go to your neighborhood polling place on election day, which will be open extended hours and cast a vote;

    3) Not do more than this every election day.

    And this doesn't even mention the potential recruiting effect of the excitement of "being part of something" (the bonding value of public ritual) in polling place elections for drawing in irregular voters who are irregular in part or in whole precisely because of the cited inconveniencing aspects of VBM.

    Do you honestly argue that even with same-day registration (which I have said I support as well as being opposed to VBM precisely because I support the widest possible participation) that the incovenience of a VBM election is less than the inconvenience of a polling place election in which you just have to?

    That was a rhetorical question. Of course you do, because you are in group of people with certain demographic characteristics for which VBM actually is more convenient, and that is the point. All of your arguments have been based on what people like you believe based on your anecdotal experience filtered through what you have proven here is a very self-centric bias system.

    What's most revealing is that same-day registration proponents essentially criticize same-day registration opponents for opposing same-day registration because they fear it will bring out a demographic of voters who will vote contrary to the same-day registration opponents. I see important similarities between that criticism and the group of VBM supporters who clearly selfishly value their convenience more than any disenfranchising effect on others, and prefer VBM because it works for people like them and gives them some confidence as to what the voting patterns will be.

    VBM supporters just arrogantly believe themselves to be "the good guys" and really resent it when someone points out that maybe they really aren't "the good guys" they want everyone to think they are. Maybe they are just smuggly secure in their self-interestedness and their belief everybody should be like them.

    My point has been and remains unrefuted, that you can make all the arguments you want in favor of VBM. We do not have the evidence supporting any argument that VBM actually increases the widest possible participation, and you have actually cited as a problem the very hypothesis VBM opponents who support the widest possible participation cite as a potentially disenfrachising effect of VBM.

    Until VBM supporters like you can produce the evidence that the disenfranchising effect you have cited is minimal, you are actually devaluing and demeaning those who you admit might be disenfrachised. You dishonor the effort to increase participation through same-day registration by using it to patch a problematic system you happen to prefer. That is precisely what I asked Ben Cannon to step up and do the right thing and by causing the yet un-done studies about VBM to make sure we actually derive the benefit of same-day registration in increasing participation by younger people and everyone else.

    Arrogance borne out of willful ignorance and egotism such as we see by a lot of folks who post here has nothing to do with progressivism and is a true obstacle to progressive change.

  • (Show?)

    Ben,

    I support this change, and with statewide voter registration systems in place, it ought to be easy to set this system up so that we are confident that no fraudulent ballots are cast.

    I'd warn you against overselling the reform, however. Oregon is already near topping out on turnout (although our numbers are likely inflated by the way we maintain our rolls--more on that if you'd like).

    Simply comparing turnout in states with same day registration to those without, without considering all the other effects on turnout, is not sufficient.

    The most comprehensive study I have seen has an abstract that can be viewed here: SSQ Article .

    In summary, SDR increases turnout among the less well educated and poor communities. There is no evidence that it impacts youth participation. (Youth turnout in Oregon is probably low precisely because we have a mobile youth population who are disconnected to the political system. The registration rules are low down on the list.)

    The overall impact is measurable, but in the authors' words, "modest."

    I'd expect it would increase turnout in Oregon by a few percentage points, because a) we are already a high turnout state and b) we are, comparatively, a middle to high income, well educated, and non-minority state.

  • (Show?)

    I found an updated report supporting Ben's comments about the impact of this reform on young and mobile voters. Sorry for the confusion in the earlier post, which was based on older research:

    http://www.votingtechnologyproject.org/media/documents/wps/vtp_wp5.pdf

  • (Show?)

    You mention one the major potentially disenfranchising aspects of VBM that VBM opponents have long cited:

    "But it isn't until you don't receive a ballot that many people realize there is something wrong with their registration. At that point it is too late to vote."

    That's no different than with polling place elections. Except that people find out earlier under VBM that they can't vote. They don't go stand in line at a polling place, only to find out they can't vote. With VBM, people call in within days of the ballots going out (often times the day ballots go out), and they find out then. But if the registration deadline has passed, it still doesn't matter. The fact they can't vote has nothing to do with VBM -- it has to do with the voter registration deadlines that have been put in place.

    There are both positive and negative aspects to VBM for young people.

    They get extra time to vote, don't have to stand in a long line, can spend more time on their ballot, etc.

    However, it also means if they move a lot they could miss their ballot, often times don't have a stamp, etc.

    No system is perfect. There will be downsides and upsides to everything.

    And your whole premise here is wrong:

    Let's look at what a voter has to do in a VBM system, even with same-day registration:

    1) Pay attention that one didn't receive a mail-in ballot;

    2) Take time out of their day to go down to a central registration site during the normal business hours to try to correct what happen (yea I know the hours can/could be extended on election day) and cast a vote;

    3) Make sure you do this every election because, if you miss several elections for what ever reason including just not receiving a ballot for due to a random delivery problem, your registration becomes inactive;

    You don't have to do this every election. You only have to do it if you don't receive a ballot within a reasonable amount of time when they go out. It's approx 10 years that you have to skip elections, so it's more than missing an election or two. If it's early enough, they'll mail you a ballot. Otherwise, they'll give it to you and you can leave with it. Only on Election Day are you supposed to stay there and vote. They're also open at least one weekend day just before the election.

    You also don't have to necessarily go into the office. Many accept address changes by phone, fax, or online. If it's early enough, they'll mail you a new one. If not, you can pick it up, or send someone with a letter giving them permission to get your ballot for you.

    Now compare that to what a voter has to do in a polling place election:

    1) Not do anything in the run up to election day except realize it is election day because everywhere they turn that day they hear "it's election day" or see "Election Day, Vote Here" signs;

    2) Go to your neighborhood polling place on election day, which will be open extended hours and cast a vote;

    3) Not do more than this every election day.

    You don't have to do more than this with VBM unless you don't receive a ballot for some reason. And if you're not actually registered for some reason (such as it's been too long and you've dropped off the rolls), you still can't vote, not with polling locations and not with VBM.

    By combining VBM with same day registration, I think we can have the best of both worlds.

    And like Bert said -- if you want me to spend hours and hours digging for numbers and analysis for information (info you'll likely claim is wrong or unproven anyway) will cost you. Sorry, but I have bills to pay, and I'm not going to spend days looking for the info for you.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    It's done with provisional ballots. These ballots are only counted once information is confirmed.

    How do you confirm that someone is actually a resident after the election? I thought one of the things that made VBM less open to fraud was that the ballot was mailed and not forwarded if the person wasn't at the address they gave. With same day registration, you don't have that process.

    I support same day registration. But my experience where it is used is that the process of verification happens at the polls when the person is allowed to vote. Vote by mail does throw a different twist into that and needs to be carefully thought out.

  • (Show?)

    Ross--

    First, their drivers license would be matched against the DMV database. If they don't have a DL, then their last four digits of their SSN are matched against the SSN database.

    Second, a piece of mail (typically the precinct card) is mailed to the person's address. If it comes back, the registration would be considered to be invalid.

    The ballots are put into special envelopes and sequestered from the regular ballots. Any ballot not verified is not counted.

    This is why there is time between Election Day and Certification Day, to validate ballots such as these.

  • HalfTheStory (unverified)
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    Rep. Cannon, before I answer Jenni, I want to say that so far I am disappointed at your lack of responsibility in following up on a thread you started.

    Jenni, you really need to quit digging yourself into a hole. Like a lot of folks here, you exhibit that argumentation style that if you don't like what the words say, you change the meaning of the argument. There is a also a growing reading comprehension problem in our times, and maybe that is part of what is going on.

    Let's cover the examples:

    "But it isn't until you don't receive a ballot that many people realize there is something wrong with their registration. At that point it is too late to vote."

    That's no different than with polling place elections. Except that people find out earlier under VBM that they can't vote. They don't go stand in line at a polling place, only to find out they can't vote. With VBM, people call in within days of the ballots going out (often times the day ballots go out), and they find out then.

    It is completely different, particularly if one also assumes same day registration. No one worries ahead of time about receiving anything, and then having to take an action with polling place elections. With same day registration, you simply vote when you get there. Without same day registration, you vote a provisional ballot, and clean up whatever problem you had at the time you present yourself at the polls if you want your provisional to count (not that the Oregon got this right either - that is a function of cultural problems here, not something intrinsic to the structure of polling place elections.) I can assure you when I voted in polling places here in Oregon and elsewhere, I never once had to think in the weeks up to the election whether I had received a ballot or anything else. That's it on this point, there's no room for your to debate what are simply facts, only room for you to prove you don't grasp simple facts.

    And your whole premise here is wrong:

    Let's look at what a voter has to do in a VBM system, even with same-day registration:

    1) Pay attention that one didn't receive a mail-in ballot;

    2) Take time out of their day to go down to a central registration site during the normal business hours to try to correct what happen (yea I know the hours can/could be extended on election day) and cast a vote;

    3) Make sure you do this every election because, if you miss several elections for what ever reason including just not receiving a ballot for due to a random delivery problem, your registration becomes inactive;

    You don't have to do this every election. You only have to do it if you don't receive a ballot within a reasonable amount of time when they go out.

    First, this is a recitation of facts. Second, this recitation of facts is true in the meaning that it is exactly the sequence of events that occurs. It is not a premise because it is not saying, "if you agree with this, then that follows" because you can't disagree with what is a true set of facts. (Well, as the right-wing neo-con nutcases have proven, you can, but that just makes you a nutcase.)

    You even prove you don't quite understand why what you are saying about disagreeing with my premise is nonsensical when you confirm the facts in what I presented:

    You don't have to do this every election. You only have to do it if you don't receive a ballot within a reasonable amount of time when they go out.

    What does Step 1) say? In summary it says: You have to pay attention if you received a ballot. By definition, you always have to do that to even know whether you received a ballot within a reasonable amount of time. The rest happens if you don't, which is what Step 2) says. If you have never voted, and particularly if you want to do same day registration, you have to start with Step 2). The 10 years you cite is the generous rule-of-thumb in some places, and is in addition to other contingencies which can put into inactive or unregistered status before that. And of course, you have not even addressed the random delivery failure problem, which means in general one has a higher burden of vigilence, always, then simply heading on down to the polling place.

    You don't have to do more than this with VBM unless you don't receive a ballot for some reason.

    So pay attention: The whole point of this is: 1) it is a bigger burden to head down to the Courthouse during normal business hours, than to head to the polling place. 2) that is one of several aspects that makes VBM a bigger convenience overall compared to polling place elections for voters with various different situations than the group of voters VBM preferentially conveniences. Furthermore, we have no information proving just how bad the possible disenfranchising effect of VBM is due to this. Finally, VBM advocates really on the whole just aren't that swift when it comes to defending what, right now, is simply a personal preference.

    At the bottom line. Unless you can dispute the facts cited, which you can't, because they are true facts, and you don't, because you acknowledge they are true facts as presented, you don't have a premise to dispute. You can only express a judgement which is a bigger inconvenience in your view. And that is irrelevant for the group of people who are inconvenienced by VBM.

    And like Bert said -- if you want me to spend hours and hours digging for numbers and analysis for information (info you'll likely claim is wrong or unproven anyway) will cost you. Sorry, but I have bills to pay, and I'm not going to spend days looking for the info for you.

    Both you and Bert really have gone over the top here in a display of arrogance of ignorance I already alluded to. Believe me, and I know you won't, you and Bert have amply proven that neither of you is even close to skilled enough to understand the questions about VBM performance, much less skilled enough to design the studies and collect the data necessary to answer the key questions.

  • (Show?)

    Regardless of VBM or polling place, you would still vote a provisional ballot. This is because federal law requires a certain amount of verification prior to a ballot being counted.

    VBM: You can find out earlier that you aren't on the voter rolls. If there is same day reg, you can get registered and get a ballot. If there isn't, you may not be able to vote. You go into the polling place (county elections office) before 8 p.m. Election Day. If it is an update and they see you have not voted yet, you get a real ballot. Otherwise you get a provisional ballot.

    Polling place: You don't know if your information is correct until you get to your polling place. You arrive, wait in a long line, only to find out you're not on the rolls there. You have to fit out a registration form. You're then given a provisional ballot.

    Like I said on the other thread, I refuse to argue this with you anymore. You just argue around and around, insulting people, calling names, questioning the intelligence of others, etc. I have much better things to do with my time.

  • (Show?)

    The comments made above are factually incorrect.

    If a ballot is returned to the county elections office, a follow up post card is sent IMMEDIATELY to the individual (with forwarding allowed) notifying them of this fact.

    Thus, individuals are notified prior to election day that they have to update their registration record.

  • gt (unverified)
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    [Ranting deleted. -editor.]

  • HalfTheStory (unverified)
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    The extra information is appreciated, paul, but to be fair to the discussion you should have specifically cited what comments you are referring to and how your point impacts the specific argument being made paul. As it is, you've have thrown in an isolated fact, and disguised an invitation to readers to misapply the fact anyway that suits them in the form of verbal form of a conclusion. I say the verbal form, because the "conclusion" offered here is at best ambiguous, but a true conclusion derived in a deductive argument is not ambiguous. That is, of course, because one purpose of a deductive argument is to constrain and remove the ambiguity or uncertainty a reader might have just reading the conclusion.

    I'm wondering about the motive, but unlike you do here, I can't assert what I don't know.

    You say Thus, individuals are notified prior to election day that they have to update their registration record.

    Unless one is omniscient, don't you agree that only the followwing is true: Thus the county has made the (perfunctory) attempt to notify a registered voter prior to election day that they have to update their registration record.

    Since the issue here is about There is a non-trivial difference between this and your statement because your statement suggests the vigilance burden on the voter (and only in the case of a returned ballot) is dramatically lessened. The correct statement of fact still leaves a vigilance burden on the voter - he or she has to say did I receive a ballot or a post card. The post card will have a cuing effect in some scenarios in which a ballot was not delivered, but not all scenarios.

    1) Non-delivery of a ballot to a voter doesn't necesarily imply a returned ballot.

    2) There is a time-lag and non-delivery rate to the same address for the post card. (This is particularly relevant for people who live in large apartment complexes and whose lifestyle finds them moving more frequently because they are not homeowners).

    3) Forwarding of the post card applies only when a voter has actually filed forwarding information with the post office and the post office properly forwards. And I am here to tell you that not all people do, nor is all mail forwarded.

    Of course one could easily turn around everything done in a VBM to fix the polling place scenario Jenni cites in her last whiny post. The registrar could send out "Do Not Forward" post cards the first time to registered voters saying we just want to remind you to vote on election day at your polling place, and then send out a forwardable post card if the first one is returned.

    I think the proper question for VBM supporter is this: In view of these obstacles viz a viz polling place elections, why does defending VBM remain so important to you? And what voters are you willing to devalue because you want VBM?

    I think Jenni's petulance when her attempts at argumentation are shot down on the substance speaks volumes. We are in an era when a lot of people are only egotistically interested in political arguments which affirm their beliefs. Those folks, and a lot of them really resent it when one who shares the progressive values they profess to hold, speaks out that they are either dishonest in professing to hold certain beliefs or are just flat ignorant.

    I need to ask the moddys if they deleted a whole comment in this thread that brought up "Real ID". My personal belief and observation is that you don't do that, so I think you perhaps could have a problem with the blog system. A comment was posted that mentioned "Real ID" (and the moral failure of our not-really-a-Democrat governor without a detectable spine and the invertebrate caucus of our Democratic legislators) in regard to the use of Oregon Driver's Licenses as ID under HAVA for voting on Federal races. As best I can recall, that comment appeared on a full reload of the page after it was posted, but is not here now. (I don't know if your logs show "Preview" actions that may help you confirm whether or not you saw an actual "Post".)

  • (Show?)

    It is quite clear to any reader of this thread what point I was referring to.

    As to whether the attempt is "perfunctory" or not, I leave to the reader to judge.

    There is always a vigilance burden on the part of the voter. I would argue that the appropriate standards here are a) what would be your "ideal" system, and b) how does the burden in Oregon compare to other states.

    The fact is that Oregon's system is one of the most, if not the most, aggressive outreach effort that I know of in the nation.

    If we combine the current system with same-day registration, I cannot think of a system that does a better job notifying voters of their eligibility status with sufficient warning for them to correct the registration record.

    This is not a comment supporting or opposing VBM, it is simply a set of factual statements.

  • GT (unverified)
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    [Ranting deleted. -editor.]

  • GT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    [Ranting deleted. -editor.]

  • HalfTheStory (unverified)
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    As to whether the attempt is "perfunctory" or not, I leave to the reader to judge.

    paul, I remain unclear whether you dispute the factual accuracy of the distinction I made between what you stated, and the reality. As defined by the online dictionaries at www.dictionary.com:

    Perfunctory: performed merely as a routine duty

    I think causing an automated system to send out a pre-printed postcard to the same address to which a returned ballot was sent, (perhaps as opposed to a phone call or a handwritten note), certainly fits the definition. Let's be honest here.

    As far as your

    There is always a vigilance burden on the part of the voter. I would argue that the appropriate standards here are a) what would be your "ideal" system, and b) how does the burden in Oregon compare to other states.

    Again, you have an obligation to be fair that the issue is: How does the burden in Oregon compare to other states with regard to it's effect on the benefit we hope to gain with SDR.

    I want to thank you for pointing out the paper by Alvarez et. al. as I was unaware of this paper. Since I support same-day registration, any such academic work is helpful. I have a slight quibble with their methodology, in that they seem to slightly mis-state what their random factor logit method analysis proves. That could lead a reader who does not have sufficient expertise with RFLM, or statistical inference methods in general, to misundersand or significantly overstate what this analysis says for Oregon. (See my NOTE below.)

    I think the best way to respond to your observation is with a direct quote from the bottom of page 5 and the top of page 6 of Alvarez et. al.:

    Instead of figuring out weeks before the election where to register, working through the registration requirements, and completing application materials to register, in states with election day registration all a citizen needs to do is show up at the polling place on election day. Thus, election day registration reduces costs, and by reducing costs, it serves to increase voter turnout.

    Importantly, election day registration also works to boost turnout because it interacts with the dynamics of political campaigns. Campaigns in modern American politics build in intensity in the weeks, and even days, right before an election. Campaigns send out most of their direct mail in the days before an election, they engage in most of their media efforts in the days right before an election, and the media’s attention is most focused on the upcoming campaigns right before an election. Thus, in states that do not use election day registration, the period of greatest campaign and media intensity occurs while citizens who are not registered to participate cannot register. On the other hand, in states with election day registration the peak in campaign intensity and media attention obviously can serve to impact voter turnout, by influencing perceptions of benefits, probabilities of being pivotal, or pangs of civic duty.

    I think the first paragraph comports quite well with what I've been arguing about how the advantages of SDR are connected with the reduced level of vigilance it allows, and how the non-trivially increased level of vigilance required by voters under VBM could negate some of the benefits of VBM.

    I think the second paragraph also comports well with my claim there is a reasonable hypothesis how the benefits of SDR also may depend on the particular combination of how excitement builds, community focus, and shared ritual in polling place elections that is significantly diffused by VBM elections. Remember, to be fair to the facts, a voter who would wait until the last minute to register under VBM, because they want to get the "full campaign experience" described here, would have to go down to a government facility, typically in a higher-activity area, during normal business hours on the last day of the VBM voting period, rather than to his or her polling place in more residential areas, sometime during the extended hours the polls are open.

    In addition, I note this conclusion on page 3:

    We find that the very groups who would be expected to find election day registration an easier process, those who are younger, more residentially mobile, lower on the socioeconomic ladder, nonwhite, and newly naturalized citizens of the US, would benefit in important ways from election day registration.

    Together I think these three quoted paragraphs make my point why SDR is only "HalfTheStory" if the goal is to actually cause the widest participation by all people eligible to be voters. The other half of the story, as yet unresearched and to which this thread demonstrates VBM supporters remain arrogantly ignorant, MAY be that VBM actually increases the effect of the risk factors for not-voting described in the third cited paragraph.

    Now, having given you the respect of a peer, I think why you understand why I prefer to not jump to any conclusion what you mean by your opening comment:

    It is quite clear to any reader of this thread what point I was referring to.

    NOTE:

    RFLM is a conditional method that allows you to ignore unquantifiable contributions from independent variables, that could in fact actually be the key contributors to the dependent variable, because you are really just interested in understanding the contributions of the independent variables which you can quantify/measure. The goal with RFLM is to simply determine what contributions the independent variables you can quantify contribute to the dependent variable. That is, in this case RFLM tells us here that same day registration can improve turnout, but it does not speak at all to whether other unquantifiable effects like VBM could actually dimish or negate that effect.

    This has been my point all along. VBM versus polling place elections would be one random factor represented by "chi-N" in the estimator equation at the bottom of page 22. (Also their equation for the logit probability on top of page 23 is mangled, but since they use STATA we can probably assume the computations were correct.) In addition, their analysis does not speak at all to VBM because they had no data from an VBM state to even use in fitting their model.

    A more interesting question, perhaps beyond their mathematical capabilities (that is not a putdown, just an observation), is whether a factor analysis in which one determines if patterns of combinations of the independent variables, would tell us more than a regression analysis in which each variable, essentially, is treated for it's individual contribution. My point is that there is ample reason to argue that VBM could actually counter the contribution of the significant variables Alvarez et. al. found for the very reasons informally described in their own work cited above. A factor analysis has the potential for doing a better job than a regression analysis of uncovering that effect.

    Do you agree or disagree paul?

  • HalfTheStory (unverified)
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    In the above, Random Factor Logit Model (RFLM), of course should be Random Effect Logit Model (RELM). "Effect" is the correct name, although the random effects are modelled as factors in the estimator.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    HalfThe Story sez: Arrogance borne out of willful ignorance and egotism such as we see by a lot of folks who post here has nothing to do with progressivism and is a true obstacle to progressive change.

    Dear HalfThe Story AKA Morons AKA AskQuestions1st:

    Before you write stuff like this again, please sit down and have a couple of beers, or sit down on your meditation cushion, or do whatever it takes to gain a bit of introspective space.

    Please.

  • HalfTheStory (unverified)
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    To this:

    Arrogance borne out of willful ignorance and egotism such as we see by a lot of folks who post here has nothing to do with progressivism and is a true obstacle to progressive change.

    I'll add:

    Those who are not emotionally equipped to handle it when someone confronts people who are smugly certain in their unfounded beliefs on the substance of their views, and exposes them for their arrogance and ignorance, should just not read it.

  • (Show?)

    SDR will make a difference--on that point you and I agree.

    As to the definition of perfunctory, the second definition of "perfunctory" is "Acting with indifference; showing little interest or care."

    Did you mean "routine" or "indifferent"?

    It's not an unfair reading of your various postings to believe you meant the second.

  • (Show?)

    So Half is off topic still and still using cheap rhetorical tricks to get in as much name calling as possible? What a surprise.

    Those who are not emotionally equipped to handle it when someone confronts people who are smugly certain in their unfounded beliefs on the substance of their views, and exposes them for their arrogance and ignorance, should just not read it.

    Back to the first refuge of a bully. He's not doing anything wrong, his victims just aren't tough enough.

    Let's see, which of these adjectives addresses the substance of a person's beliefs: whiny, arrogant, petulant, egotistical, unskilled, dishonest, smug, nutcase?

    Half, you purport to care about the issues but you employ a rhetorical style that very effectively distracts people from the issues and deters dialog on substance.

    If you are only here, slumming with your imagined inferiors, in order to bully people and make them feel bad, that does not make them immature.

    Buried in all the bullying and look-how-smart-I-am posturing you sometimes manage an interesting point. Maybe one of Paul's students can do his or her thesis on whether/how VBM changes the demographics of who votes and who doesn't.

    In the meantime, this is a thread about same-day registration--which I gather you support despite your decidedly strange way of showing it.

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