Online Voter Registration Expands

Article excerpt

It used to be that when you reached 18, you had to go to the elections office, a library or another public office to register to vote. Today, you can register over the Internet in several states.

In 2001, Arizona became the first to allow qualified voters to register entirely online. In the 2008 presidential election year, 69 percent of the registrations and updates received by Maricopa County (Phoenix) were completed online using the state's EZ Voter Registration site.

In 2007, Washington joined Arizona. More than 158,000 Washington voters completed registration forms using the online system in 2008. California enacted online registration in 2008, permitting online filing up to 15 days before an election.

And last year, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oregon and Utah joined the online states. At press time, legislation is pending in Michigan, New Jersey and New York.

"The system works effectively and securely because it directly links the secretary of state's website with the Motor Vehicles Division driver's license database--enabling digital signature verification," Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell says. "In bad economic times, with budget cuts and layoffs, online registration reduces costs and makes it easier to deliver better service to our constituents. …