By 2018, 16 states and the District of Columbia will allow same day registration. Thirteen states already use it, and three states - California, Vermont, and Hawaii - are working to implement same day registration over the next two years. California and Vermont passed both same day registration and automatic voter registration as complementary pieces of a strategy to modernize their voting systems and expand access to the vote.
Nine of the 16 states passed same day registration during the past ten years, but some states, like Wisconsin, Maine, and Minnesota have used same day registration since the 1970s. The facts are clear - data from the past 32 years has shown that same day registration consistently increases voter participation by at least ten percentage points. States looking to modernize and make it easier for people to vote have found that same day registration is the cheapest, easiest path to measurable gains.
In the past few years, however, some state governments have been trying to dismantle same day registration, despite the overwhelming evidence of its success. In 2012, in Wisconsin, a new administration tried to repeal same day registration after the law had been in place for 37 years. The people of Wisconsin demanded that their government respect the long tradition of equal access to the ballot box in their state, and together, they made sure that the voices of the many outweighed the interests of a few.