Automatic Voter Registration Boosts States’ Voter Rolls

The United States is almost alone among industrial countries and other democracies in putting most of the onus of registering to vote on individual voters, a sometimes cumbersome process that may explain a large portion of why turnout rates in the U.S. are lower than in many other countries.

But the increasing adoption of automatic voter registration over the past five years has led to a big boost in the voter rolls in states that have implemented the new system, according to a new study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.

Although programs differ from state to state, automatic voter registration (also known as AVR in voting circles) generally means that eligible citizens are automatically registered to vote when they get a driver’s license, register a vehicle or interact with other government agencies, unless the individual opts out.