Keeping Voter Rolls Clean: Registration Errors Decline in Minnesota
Minnesota saw a sharp decline in the number of same day registrations and an increase in the total number of ballots cast from 2008 to 2016. While at first the decline in registration may seem alarming, this is actually good news for voters in the state of Minnesota. What likely happened was that ERIC was able to identify people who had moved well before the election, and Minnesota was able to encourage voters to update their registration well in advance, rather than waiting for Election Day.
Since joining ERIC in 2014, Minnesota has seen a steady increase in turnout by 17,501 ballots (see Figure 1). Over the same period Minnesota has also seen a decline of 174,688 same day registrations. This represents a decrease from 18.56% of the electorate using same day registration in 2008 to 11.9% in 2016 (see Figure 2). Although same day registration does provide voters more convenience and access to the ballot box, Minnesota has significantly reduced the need for voters to worry about their registration on Election Day.
As Minnesota’s Director of Elections Gary Poser put it, “[w]hile not solely attributable to ERIC (also an effect of Online registration and use of NCOA data), keeping registrations current has lessened the number of same day registrations” while maintaining a steady increase in overall voter turnout.