The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) recently made news when it came up on the House budget chopping block. (It survived.) In the meantime, the EAC has released a new report on voter registration statistics from after the 2008 general election through the 2010 midterm election. The report covers the number of registered voters, the registration process, and voter registration list maintenance.

Below are some of the report’s findings, along with suggestions for nonprofits interested in voter registration:

  • The number of registered voters declined from 2008, but increased by 14 million from the last midterm election. No matter what’s on the ballot, nonprofits can encourage voters to register, to engage, and to vote–every election matters!
  • More than 45 million voter registration applications were submitted, 14.4 million of which were from new voters. There are large numbers of eligible but unregistered voters, and the number grows everyday as youth turn 18 and new citizens are naturalized. Until registration is automatic, nonprofits can help ensure that eligible voters have the opportunity to register–make forms available at your organization, ask clients if they’re registered, and hold a voter registration drive.
  • Seventeen states reported receiving voter registration applications over the Internet, accounting for 2% of all registration forms. New technology makes it easier than ever to register to vote. If you’re in one of the eight states (plus D.C.) that offer online voter registration, consider devoting an on-site computer to voter registration.
  • 9.4% of registration applications (1.4 million applications) were invalid or duplicates of existing registrations. Your nonprofit can help clients check to see if they are registered; if not, help ensure that they fill out the form correctly, include all necessary information, and sign the completed application.

Read the full report and check out the data sets. While the EAC currently administers and maintains the national mail voter registration form, we hope that one day soon they (or someone) will also be responsible for overseeing a single national voter registration database. Until then, learn more about registering and voting in your state and order a “Register to Vote” poster in English or Spanish.

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