The Delaware House Passed One Of The Biggest Steps Lawmakers Can Take To Encourage Voting

CREDIT: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Not long after states like North Carolina and Wisconsin enacted new laws making it harder to cast a ballot in those states, the Delaware House voted on Thursday to move in the opposition direction. Legislation that cleared the House by a 24 to 15 vote margin would implement same-day voter registration in Delaware, permitting voters to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day.

Studies demonstrate that, on average, same-day registration boosts voter turn out by seven percentage points. Currently, ten states plus the District of Columbia offer same-day registration, and California also has a law that will likely lead to it being used in the near future.

Opponents of same-day registration in Delaware raised a familiar objection to the bill that just passed the state house — voter fraud. In the words of state Rep. Joe Miro (R), if this bill becomes a law, “[w]e may be giving the office to someone who may not have won that election.”

In reality, however, there is virtually no evidence that in-person voter fraud actually exists. In Wisconsin, one of the states that currently offer same-day registration, a study of all three million ballots cast in the 2004 election discovered that only seven were potentially the product of fraud — meaning that Wisconsin had a voter fraud rate of 0.00023 percent.