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New Study; Same Day Registration Laws are Very Effective in Increasing the Turnout of Young Voters

Turnout among young voters has always trailed that of older Americans, and that trend holds true in much of the industrialized world. However, the gap between the percentage of older voters and younger voters is especially high in the United States. Researchers have found a variety of reasons for lower youth turnout including laws that make registering and voting more difficult. Such barriers can be especially difficult for younger voters because they move around between voting districts more often, especially college students.

Research has also shown how we can raise overall voter participation, including that of younger voters. A new study by professors at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New York found that same day registration [SDR] is the most effective way to increase youth participation.

Science "Studies find that same day registration (SDR) laws increase turnout, but less is known about which kinds of voters are most affected. Young people are disproportionately burdened by traditional registration laws because they frequently change addresses and infrequently interact with government agencies providing registration services. SDR laws, which lower the cost of registration, should increase turnout most among young people. ... Difference-in-differences estimates suggest that SDR disproportionately increases turnout among individuals aged 18–24 (an effect between 3.1 and 7.3 percentage points). The effect of SDR on young voters is especially pronounced in presidential elections. ... The results suggest that expanded SDR may produce a younger electorate."

21 states currently offer some version of same day registration, but there is a growing partisan divide on efforts to make registering and voting easier. Republican-leaning states are now enacting laws to make voting more difficult and some are meant to reduce the youth vote, a group that has overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates over the last few election cycles. Montana's Republican legislature, for example, just eliminated same day registration.

Same day registration is just one example of ways to make our government more democratic, more representative of all citizens. It's a shame that some folks will resist those efforts in order to gain a partisan advantage.

#voting #research #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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