Making the List: Database Matching and Verification Processes for Voter Registration
44 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2010
Date Written: March 24, 2006
This report was the first comprehensive summary of important new voter registration procedures effective in most states at the beginning of 2006.
Federal law requires that states create and maintain statewide databases to serve as the central source of voter registration information. Citizens’ ability to get on the rolls – and thus their ability to vote and have their votes counted – now depend on the policies and procedures governing the use of these databases in the voter registration process. The new statewide databases, and their role in the voter registration process, are poorly understood, but extremely consequential.
This report, issued just as the state databases begin to come online, presented the first comprehensive catalog of the widely varying state database practices governing how (and in some cases, whether) individuals seeking to register will be placed on the voter rolls.
The report covers each state’s extant and anticipated voter registration process as of early 2006, from the application form up through Election Day – including the intake of registration forms, the manner in which information from the forms may be matched to other government lists, the consequences of the match process, and any opportunity to correct errors. In addition to state-by-state summaries, the report includes policy recommendations regarding the registration process, based on state practice and comparative research from other fields.
Keywords: voter registration, databases, registration systems, matching, no-match, voting, driver's license number, Social Security
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