HB1537 has been filed, which would create an online voter registration option.
States first began to allow online registration in 2002, which has since been adopted by 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam. Arkansas is one of only nine states which do not offer or plan to offer online voter registration. In two of these states, Oklahoma and Maine, online registration is in the process of implementation.
Online registration is a way to make voting more accessible, especially for voters with disabilities who may have difficulty filling out and mailing paper forms. For this reason, it is important that voter registration websites be constructed with accessibility in mind.
Benefits of Online Voter Registration:
- Online Registration saves states money: A 2019 report by the Brennan Center stated that “every state that has modernized registration saved money.” Developing and implementing online voter registration has been relatively inexpensive, and states have recouped that money quickly due to a reduction in per-voter registration processing cost, with states seeing a drop in that cost of up to 95%.
- Online Registration increases registration rates and turnout: States have seen a sharp increase in the number of registered voters when they have adopted online registration. Washington and Kansas saw their registration numbers double and South Dakota saw an increase of 500%
- Online Registration increases voter satisfaction and reduces burdens on election officials: In a 2015 report by the Pew Center, 13 states highlighted voter satisfaction and reduced burdens on election officials as the major benefits they had seen from online registration.
- Online Registration is more accurate: The same Pew Center report saw local election officials praising the improved accuracy of their voter rolls due to factors due to the reduction of handwritten applications and the need for information to be transcribed by election staff.
- Online Registration is secure: No state has ever reported a security breach of their online registration system. Encryption, Captcha, and other programs that protect against hacking, routine audit logs, secure networks, unique identifiers, and other strategies help impede unauthorized access. None of these security features can be used with paper forms.