It’s Election Day and some say Nebraska should allow voter registration on the same day voters head to the polls.
State Senator Bill Avery, of Lincoln, pushed for Election Day registration before a legislative committee hearing last week, saying the change is proven to increase voter participation, especially for younger voters.
“Young adults are in a group that historically has had low voter turnout across the country,” Avery says. “Also, young adults move more frequently, making it more difficult for them to keep their voter registration current.”
Two neighboring states, Iowa and Wyoming, are among those that allow people to register the same day they vote.
Avery says a high percentage of Nebraska residents are registered to vote, but if there is another tool that increases that number, the state should encourage it. Avery says Nebraska does a good job of making voter registration accessible to everyone, but could do more.
“I may have a bill next session that would ask the legislature to allow for registration online,” Avery says. “We don’t do that. Why not? It’s so easy.”
Adam Morfeld, executive director of Nebraskans for Civic Reform, told the legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee that allowing for Election Day registration would get more people involved in the voting process.
“Election Day registration promotes turnout despite the fact the Secretary of State has stated that he believes it’s issues that increase turnout, not registration processes and systems,” Morfeld says. “However, in states that have Election Day registration, turnout is anywhere in the 7-10% range higher than states that don’t.”
Twelve states and the District of Columbia currently allow voters to register on the same day they vote.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice