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Election Day Registration, No Photo ID Requirement Will Help Boost Turnout in Tomorrow’s Iowa Caucuses

Scott Keyes
Think Progress / News Analysis
Published: Monday 2 January 2012
“Had the Iowa GOP followed the lead of their brethren in Maine and elsewhere, thousands of Iowans who will cast their vote tomorrow with the help of election day registration could have been turned away from the polls.”
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Tomorrow, when Iowa Republicans gather across the state to vote on their party’s presidential nominee, one important tool will be available to boost turnout: election day voter registration.

Though Iowa, unlike most states, permits those who haven’t registered (or just need to update their file after a move, for instance) before election day to do so when they show up at their precinct during regular elections, the Huffington Post notes that the Iowa GOP is in charge of setting the rules for its own caucuses.

Despite nationwide efforts to make voting more difficult, the Republican Party of Iowa decided to buck the trend and allow for on-site registration. In doing so, however, they necessarily undercut the argument being made by GOPers in many other states that election day registration (EDR) invites fraud. (Of course, voters are 39 times more likely to be struck by lightning than commit fraud at the polls, and EDR actually helps prevent already-miniscule levels of fraud.)

Residents of just nine states currently enjoy EDR: Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. However, in a number of these states, the GOP-led war on voting has targeted EDR for repeal, most notably in Maine. Republicans in the Maine legislature passed a bill ridding the state of EDR, only to see the popular program reinstated by referendum in November by an overwhelming 61%-39% margin.

Election day registration will certainly help boost participation in tomorrow’s Iowa caucuses. A 2001 study found that states which employ election day registration (EDR) boost their voter turnout rate by 7 percentage points, without partisan gain for either side. The study found that poorer and less educated voters benefited the most from EDR. ThinkProgress spoke with a number of Maine voters who also lauded the ability to update their registration if they’ve recently moved, particularly because most residents are at work during the day and unable to visit the election clerk during normal business hours.

Had the Iowa GOP followed the lead of their brethren in Maine and elsewhere, thousands of Iowans who will cast their vote tomorrow with the help of election day registration could have been turned away from the polls.



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ABOUT Scott Keyes

Scott Keyes is an investigative researcher for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Scott went to school at Stanford University where he received his B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Sociology. He has appeared on MSNBC and TBD Newstalk TV and been a guest on many radio shows. His writing has been published by The Atlantic, Politico, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott comes to DC from southwest Ohio, a state very near and dear to his heart.

zgrxvud

zgrxvud

Scott my boy, the old saying

Scott my boy, the old saying " young and dumb " applies in your case.

dead people should be allowed

dead people should be allowed to vote as they say here vote early and often

Republicans (illegally) put

Republicans (illegally) put up a sign at a polling station in the last election (in NH Republican House Speaker O'Brien's district, of course) saying that ID's would be checked "per pending legislation" (a bill had been introduced in the legislature, but not even debated at that point). Many people saw the sign and just turned around and went home.

O'Brien has openly stated that young people should not be allowed to vote because they are liberals. Voter ID laws target young mobile people, the unemployed, homeless, elderly, and minorities.

Photo Id laws and bans on EDR

Photo Id laws and bans on EDR are of course solutions without a problem. There is almost no evidence of the fraud and such problems that have been touted as the rationale for proscribing voter access. And the impetus for these measures is almost universally coming from the GOP. And of course we know why. Because the fewer the absolute number of voters, the more the returns favor the GOP, and They DO like being in power, and they DO NOT like allowing voters to make decisions because democracy is too important to be trusted to the people. (Oh! And they have a pathological blind spot for irony so don't expect them to get the joke).

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