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Q: Voting Enrollment Procedures ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Voting Enrollment Procedures
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: simonasheikh-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 27 Nov 2006 19:25 PST
Expires: 27 Dec 2006 19:25 PST
Question ID: 786093
Can you please provide information from reputable sources about:
a) Any democracies in the world where citizens are automatically
placed on the electoral roll (i.e. automatically enrolled)
b) Any arguments that exist FOR automatic enrollment
c) Any information that exists about the process of automatic enrollment

Clarification of Question by simonasheikh-ga on 27 Nov 2006 19:26 PST
For part a) links to websites are fine
Subject: Re: Voting Enrollment Procedures
Answered By: umiat-ga on 20 Dec 2006 23:34 PST
Hello, simonasheikh-ga! 

 I assume that by using the term, automatic enrollment, you are
inquiring about automatic voter registration. The following references
should provide some insight into the process of automatic voter
registration in countries around the world, as well as arguments for
automatic enrollment in the United States.


"Voter Registration."

See Box 4.1. Methods used to compile voter registers


"Voter Registration and Inclusive Democracy: Analysing Registration
Practices Worldwide."


From Mapping Democracy Around the World.

Turnout: 77%
System: indirect/electoral

Automatic registration.

Turnout: 65.5%
System: indirect/party

Registration: Voter registration is automatic, as the rolls are
compiled from the door-to-door census and registrations for ration

Over 687,000 polling locations, not to mention mobile electronic
voting machines, four stages of voting, and hundreds of political
parties make India the most massive democracy in the world. Because of
the young age of the population, only about 60% of the country is
eligible to vote. Still, in the last election, almost 387 million
people turned out.

Turnout: 73.8%
System: indirect/party

Registration: All citizens are automatically registered from municipal census.


From Burma's Future Consideration

Some countries using automatic registration systems include:


These countries have achieved nearly universal voter registration.
Whatever registration system is agreed on must be constitutionalised
to avoid dispute, litigation and possible violence.


"Elsewhere, almost two-thirds of democracies employ a system of
automatic voter registration."


The following articles provide support for automatic registration in the U.S.:

"Automatic Voter Registration." New America Foundation | November 10, 2006

"Recent elections underscore the importance of improving the way we
register citizens to vote. Our voter rolls are not complete enough,
with nearly a third of eligible Californians -- about 6.7 million
people -- not registered, a lower percentage than in 2001. This lack
of civic participation is a threat to good governance and a healthy
democracy. Current state law limits valuable opportunities for
engaging more Californians in the electoral process.

"California, like the rest of the United States, is one of the few
democracies where the government does not take responsibility for
registering its voters. The international norm is an orderly process
of government-mandated automatic voter registration of every citizen
who reaches voting age."

Read further...

 Complete paper is here: 


From FairVote E-Newsletter. February 2, 2005

"Here are a few concrete ways nations pursue automatic registration.
In the United Kingdom, the election commission mails a form to each
household listing the names of citizens registered to vote at that
address, citizens are then asked to modify the form, adding or
subtracting names as needed and then returning the form. In Ghana,
every year government officials travel from region to region and set
up voter registration locations for a few days to a few weeks in order
to get all voters in that region registered.

"In many European Countries, national ID cards serve as an election
card as well. The citizen is automatically registered upon reaching
voting age and must simply present the card to vote on election day in
the correct precinct. Of course such a process could be set up for
voting separate from a national ID card in the United States.

"The United States should take an active approach to registering
voters. Such a policy will reduce last minute influxes in voter
registration in the weeks leading up to election day, overwhelming
election offices. It will lead to more complete and clean voter rolls,
a basic condition of fair elections."


"The Democracy We Deserve," by Miles S. Rapoport. The American Prospect. 2005

"Automatic Registration. "The requirement that citizens register
before voting goes back in the South to Reconstruction days, and in
the North to the era of mass immigration a century ago. The intent was
to discourage voting; ours should be to encourage it. Voting need not
be a two-step process whose burden falls on the individual citizen. In
many European countries, citizens are automatically registered to vote
when they turn 18. Thinking long term, a system that makes
registration automatic without creating an intrusive and intimidating
national-identity structure ought to be an achievable goal."


"American voting process influence turnout levels," By Krista Larson

"Automatic registration could similarly increase turnout by at least
10 and as much as 15 percentage points."


"Understanding Voter Eligibiity and the American Voter."

"America has among the lowest turnout percentages when contrasted with
other democracies such as Austria or Sweden (frequently over 90
percent in those two nations). Also, note that other democracies
provide automatic registration for citizens or even fine people who do
not vote, such as in Uruguay or Australia."


From "Setting a New Goalpost: 100 Percent Voter Registration," By
Steven Hill, New America Foundation. National Civic Review. January
31, 2006

The United States in fact is the one of the few democracies where the
government does not take responsibility for registering its voters,
which is why by last January Iraq already had a higher share of its
adult citizens registered to vote than the United States. The
international norm is an orderly process of automatic voter
registration of every citizen who reaches voting age. Because the
government takes a proactive, ongoing role, registration occurs on a
steady, rolling basis instead of in spurts tied to any specific
election. Voters receive a unique identifier that ensures they don't
vote more than once.


I hope these references are helpful!



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