exclusively issues about changing computer systems, but also might require that states alter law, regulation, or practice.

Nevertheless, the Committee on State Voter Registration Databases believes that a number of meaningful changes of a nontechnical nature can be implemented in two areas in time to make a difference in the November 2008 election: (1) education and dissemination of information and (2) administrative processes and procedures. In addition, this interim report notes a number of actions that can be taken to support elections in 2010 and beyond, although states may wish to examine these longer-term actions to see if any can be implemented in the few months before the 2008 election.

These short-term changes and longer-term actions are directed primarily at election officials (voter registrars) at the state and local/county level. In some cases, the Election Assistance Commission has a useful role to play as well in facilitating and promoting their implementation.

SHORT-TERM ACTIONS—PUBLIC EDUCATION AND DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION

  • Raise public awareness about the legibility and the completeness of voter registration card information. Jurisdictions could take some or all of the following specific steps:

    • Emphasize in the instructions for filling out voter registration forms the importance of legibility and completeness (for example, “Please print all responses; if your answers are illegible, your application may be mis-entered, rejected, or returned to you.”).

    • Conduct media campaigns emphasizing the importance of legibility and completeness in the information provided on voter registration forms.

    • Coordinate with third-party voter registration groups and public service agencies, emphasizing the need for their field volunteers to attend to legibility and completeness as they distribute and/or collect registration materials.

SHORT-TERM ACTIONS—ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES

  • Resubmit match queries if the response returned from the Social Security Administration or department of motor vehicles is a nonmatch.

  • Provide human review of all computer-indicated removal decisions.

  • Improve the transparency of procedures for adding voters and for list maintenance.

  • Use fill-in online registration forms.

  • Perform empirical testing on the adequacy of processes for adding to and maintenance of lists.

  • Take steps to minimize errors during data entry.

  • Allow selected individuals to suppress address information on public disclosures of voter registration status.

  • Encourage (but do not require) entities sponsoring voter registration drives to submit voter registration forms in a timely manner to reduce massive influxes at the registration deadline.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement