The Registration and Turnout Effects of Automatic Voter Registration

27 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2021 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021

See all articles by Eric McGhee

Eric McGhee

Public Policy Institute of California

Charlotte Hill

Goldman School of Public Policy

Mindy Romero

USC Price School of Public Policy

Date Written: September 29, 2021

Abstract

Automatic voter registration (AVR) is a popular reform that seeks to register eligible citizens to vote as a matter of course if they engage with government and provide the necessary information. Analysis of early adopting states has generally found some effect of the reform on both registration and turnout, but there has yet to be a comprehensive causal analysis. We use a variety of causal identification strategies to examine the effects of AVR on both registration and turnout. We find it raises registration rates substantially, and while these new registrants are less likely to vote, enough do participate to raise the eligible turnout rate. We also show that the effect of AVR gradually builds the longer it is in place, and that the different types of AVR have significantly different effects on both registration and turnout.

Keywords: voter registration, voter turnout, elections, election reform, American politics

Suggested Citation

McGhee, Eric and Hill, Charlotte and Romero, Mindy, The Registration and Turnout Effects of Automatic Voter Registration (September 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3933442 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3933442

Eric McGhee (Contact Author)

Public Policy Institute of California ( email )

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415-291-4439 (Phone)

Charlotte Hill

Goldman School of Public Policy ( email )

Berkeley, CA
United States

Mindy Romero

USC Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, CA 90089-062
United States
5306653010 (Phone)
95819-2118 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://cid@usc.edu

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