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PEW features of OLR

PEW update Sept. 2015

PEW report Jan. 2014
8 pages

NCSL update June 2016

Expanding opportunities

PEW Elections Index includes OLVR. Methodology on p.36

Senate committee hearing - 7 minute video  Oct 2012

Reference List from 15 states

PEW study 2010, AZ and WA

UW-Eau Claire Student Senate resolution

UW-Stout Student Senate Resolution

Find your Reps here

2011 video on AB-365

This page: http://tinyurl.com/OLVRWI

Ballotpedia page OLVR


Things you can do online:

Register for Selective Service

Check your voter registration

Change your DL address

Apply for Social Security

Renew your WI professional license

Buy a WI hunting or fishing license

Register for organ donation

E-file your taxes

Apply for WI unemployment benefits


Letter to Editor August 2009

 Letter to editor March 2009

Letter to editor Nov 2012

Letter to editor NYT April 4, 2016

For information, contact Paul Malischke malischke@yahoo.com

Act 261 was passed in March 2016.  It authorizes electronic voter registration for those with a Driver License or DOT ID card, but make it harder for others to register.  Critique of the bills as introduced

MSNBC: "Wisconsin throws up major voter registration hurdle."

Project Vote:  "Bill comes at a high cost."

Letter to editor in the New York Times: "Last month, selective voter registration suppression was signed into law. Wisconsin is probably the only state to make it easier for the “haves” (those with a driver’s license) to register through online registration, while simultaneously making it more difficult for the “have nots” (those without a driver’s license) to register the old-fashioned way on paper. This bill will hinder community registration drives by terminating special registration deputies, who had the ability to check and document proof of residence for those without a driver’s license or state-issued ID card."

League of Women Voters of WI is officially opposed:  "We are opposing AB 389/SB 295. While we support online voter registration, we oppose other measures in this bill, the worst of which would end the Special Registration Deputies program. That is unacceptable."

Presidential Commission on Election Administration - unanimously recommends online voter registration

See pages 22 to 27 of their final report, issue January 2014

Electronic Voter Registration Will Help Clerks, Help Voters, and Save $$

Senate Committee hearing Dec 18, 2013, on 2013 AB-225, which contains electronic registration.

Kevin Kennedy (GAB) written testimony video security memo
Speaker Vos & Rep. Mason written testimony video  

Wisconsin should improve the voter registration system by offering paperless online real-time voter registration.  The direct financial payback will be immediate for municipalities, as it will save the clerk’s time by avoiding manual entry of data from a huge stack of paper forms.

Follow the successful model of over 30 other states

Arizona and Washington were first to successfully institute online voter registration (OLVR).   Arizona’s system has been in place since 2002, and in 2008, 39% of those who registered used the online system.  Washington’s system has been in effect since January 2008, and is highly acclaimed by their Secretary of State (see testimony and attachments to congressional committee).

To ensure an accurate and secure system, there are typically these limitations:

  • Only those with a driver’s license or state identification card can use the online system.  Requirements for an ID card.
  • Many of the states have a real-time connection with the motor vehicle agency.  The systems require instant verification of information submitted before the application moves forward.
  • Online registration closes when open registration closes (20 days before the election in Wisconsin).

HAVA checks

In 2008, Wisconsin had a well-publicized lawsuit on how to handle the “HAVA checks”, the comparison of voter registrations to the driver’s license database.  In contrast, the states that have online registration handle this automatically as part of the process.  This minimizes the extra effort needed on either the part of the voter or the election administrator for the matching process, and minimizes controversy.

Benefits for election administrators

The data submitted online is more complete and accurate than on paper forms.  Online registration significantly reduces the costly and heavy workload of entering data from paper forms, most of which are received when other election tasks are mounting.  For November elections, clerks often struggle to process forms in time to get voters on the poll list.  If the bulk of registrations are handled automatically, our election administrators will be able to deal promptly with the paper forms from other voters. 

From a report from PEW Center on the States, August 2009:  In Maricopa County, Arizona, a paper registration form costs at least 83 cents to process, versus an average of 3 cents for a registration completed online.

Benefits for Voters

For voters, online real-time registration means a more timely, accessible, and reliable way to register, with immediate confirmation that the registration is being processed.  This eliminates worries about not being on the poll list due to faulty handling of a paper form, or failing the HAVA check.

States that have systems or have passed bills, in order of activation.  32 live, and 4 under construction.  MN, CN, and CO have both online registration and election day registration.

State Status Bill or Act Comments Fiscal Note
1 Arizona active since July 2002 "EZvoter" ARS 16-111    16-112 16-152.E SOS FAQ; summary; press release 2008.  Info on AZ from CA hearing.  Security Startup cost was $100,000.  Annual cost is $125,000.  See PEW report, page 92
2 Washington Passed 91-6, 30-17 on April 9, 2007.   Active since 1/1/2008. HB 1528 29A.08.123; Rule 434-324-031 (both are short)  Same timelines as mail registration. 

Testimony to congress & attachments PowerPoint

2011 video from director of Elections

 Cost to implement: $279,000 (see attachments in Comments column)
3 Kansas Launched by Sec. of State July 2009 accomplished without legislation Open to new & existing voters until 14 days before election.  Instant matching to come later.  
4 Oregon passed by House 45-11, Senate 19-6, 6/23/09, signed by Gov. Aug. 6 2009.  Turned on March 1, 2010 by SOS H 2386, 3 pages.  Enrolled bill

SOS Press Release

Oregonian on House vote.  Oregonian on Senate vote.  of HAVA funds.  Uses  Captcha & VeriSign SSL Will use $217,000 (based on Washington's cost)
5 Colorado legislature passed 4/29/09, Signed into law 5/15/09, requires OLVR April 1, 2010 HB-09-1160

requires last 4 digits of SSN

Passed by the House 60 to 4, senate is unanimous.  Editorial.  Governor's Press release.  With change of address, requires postcard to old address.  Closes 29 days before election.   Appropriation of $142,000 - See JBC Analysis link on top of bill's page. HB-09-1160.
6 Louisiana passed by legislature 6/21/09, signed by Governor 6/29/09; requires OLVR April 1, 2010 HB 520, becomes Act 187, 4 pages passed by House 67-23, & Senate 35-0  Will use $300,000 from HAVA.  Requires entry of 4 digit audit code on the license.
7 Utah Launched May 2010. Passed by legislature 2/12/09, Gov. signed 3/20/09 S.B. 25 senate 22-2, House 58-14.  Deseret News "will not require additional appropriations."
8 Indiana Launched July 1 2010.  Passed 4/29/09, signed 5/11/09 HB 1346 becomes Act 1346  Closes 29 days before election.  Can use internet-enabled cell phone. cost indeterminable, will use existing $$.
9 Nevada Rolled out county by county.  Completed Sept 8, 2012 accomplished without legislation Includes instant matching with DL data. Total cost is $248,000
10 Maryland Article on Launch Aug. 7, 2012 HB 740 from 2011 session

Passed Senate 41-5, House 97-42.

limited to those with DL, except military and overseas may use SS#, and voters already registered may use voter #.  fiscal note:  $250,000 to implement, $80,000 annual cost
11 New York Launched August 16, 2012 launched without legislation If DMV's records do not reflect your current name, address, DOB, you must first correct this information on DMV records before processing an online Voter Registration Application. paperless from voter's perspective, but not fully automated.
12 California Launched September 19, 2012. SB 381 (2007-8 session), 3 pages

followed by SB-397, passed Sept. and signed Oct. 2011

2008 press release. Closes 15 days before election.  Requires SSN (4 digits), immediate matching of DOB and ID#.  
13 South Carolina Launched Oct. 2, 2012 H*4945, passed unanimously, signed June 18, 2012 Cleared by US DOJ Instant verification of DL or DMV ID card.  Requires full SSN.  3,000 registrations in first 20 hours "Costs are minimal and have been absorbed in the Agency budget."
14 Minnesota* Goes live Sept. 26, 2013 by authority of Sec of State.  Closed by court order.  Re-established by statute April 29, 2014 no legislation needed according to SOS.  See critical editorial.   HF 2096 passed April 2014 The only state system that is open to those who do not have DL.  Others use SSN.  FAQ.  Matching done overnight.  IP addresses are logged.  
15 Missouri Launched Dec 19, 2013 no legislation application signed by voters on their touchscreen.  
16 Connecticut Go Live Feb 18 2014

Signed by Gov. May 31, 2012.  Was HB-5024

Public Act 12-56 Section 10 is online registration effective Jan 1, 2014.  This Act also provides for election day registration. requires electronic signature from DMV or other state agency Editorial
17 Georgia Go Live March 2014

Signed by Gov. May 2, 2012

SB 92requires DL or state ID, DOB, citizen data matches DMV data, instant verification.  Uses digital signature from DMV omnibus bill proposed by Sec. of State  
18 Virginia Goes live July 24, 2013

BOE release

passed House 93-5, passed Senate 40-0.  Signed by
Gov 3/18/13

HB-2341 final text requires that DOB,  SSN, and either DL or DMV ID, is verified, but not instantly. House has 67 Rep. & 32 Dems, One Ind.  Senate has 20 of each. Fiscal Note: $81,000 to implement, $20,000 per year maintenance
19 Delaware* launched April 2014 No legislation    
20 Illinois Launched June 2014. Link 7/27/13, signed by Gov. Quinn.   Passed by Senate 32-20, House 66-49. Public Act 098-0115, was HB2418  Operational by 7/1/2014 Limited to those with DL or state ID card.  Uses digital signature on file.  Will require DL issue date Expected cost $50,000.  Requires matching within 48 hours DOB, DL #, date of issuance, and last 4 of SSN.
21 Nebraska Launched Sept 22, 2015. signed by Governor 3/31/14 LB661  Passed 44-0-5 Limited to those with DL or state ID card.  Uses digital signature on file.  closes 3rd Friday before election.  
22 Hawaii Launched 8/4/15.  signed by Governor July 5, 2012.  Effective 2015 HB1755 became Act 225 limited to those with Hawaii DL or state ID.  Requires SSN. bill appropriates $500,000
23 Massachusetts signed by Governor May 22, 2014. Launched June 2015 Chapter 111.  Originated as H3788 Uses signature from registry of motor vehicles records.  Cost is "relatively low"
24 District of Columbia* enacted October 2014 B20-0264 limited to those with DL or DMV ID  
25 Pennsylvania* Launched August 2015 launched without legislation video on how to use it Allows signature to be uploaded, March 2016
26 West Virginia Launched 9/30/15.  Signed by Gov May 2, 2013 SB 477 Requires last 4 digits of SSN. Applicants without a DL or state ID card will need to print and mail. fiscal note: to implement - $77,000
27 Vermont Active as of 10/15.  Expected October 12, 2015 no legislation    
28 Alaska Live in December 2015 apparently without legislation   Restricted to those with DL or state ID
29 New Mexico Launched January 2016.  Signed into law April 10, 2015 SB-643, passed unanimously in both houses.  See p. 28 of pdf partially effective in 2016, fully in 2017.  Requires SSN. Restricted to those with a DL or MVD ID card.  Enables joining ERIC - p. 26 of pdf
30 Iowa Launched 1/1/16 no legislation limited to those with DL or DMV ID  
31  Rhode Island Launched August 2016   Requires a DMV-issued ID number  
32  Kentucky Launched August 2016 allowed by administrative rule Requires SSN, not DL number. $50,000
Oklahoma Signed into law April 17, 2015 SB-313 passed Senate 37-2, House 61-29. Restricted to those with DL or ID cards and current address is shown on the ID.  
Florida Due by 10/1/17.  Signed into law May 15, 2015.  Passed House 109-9, Senate 37-3 CS for CS for SB-228.  enrolled bill Compares name and DOB with DMV records.  Sends digital signature to supervisor of elections. $1.8 million appropriated in the law.  Launch 10/17.
Wisconsin Expected January 2017 Act 261 First state to pass OLR while simultaneously making it harder to register for those not eligible to use the OLR system Eliminates Special Registration Deputies
Ohio Signed June 13, 2016.  Expected first half of 2017.  Passed Senate 33-0. House 95-2. SB 63 Requires the Secretary of State to conduct a review of the voter registration database to determine the citizenship status of any individuals that indicated they are not citizens to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Fiscal note

*Delaware, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC have provisions for those without a DL or state ID to use OLVR.  See Lawyers Committee report dated Jan 14, 2016

Ohio and Michigan have online change of address.

Ohio launched august 9, 2012   limited to updating existing registration  requires match of name, DL, last 4 SSN, and DOB
Michigan DL and voter registration addresses are updated simultaneously   limited to updating existing registration  


Bills that have been introduced but not passed, alphabetically

State Status Bill or Act Comments
Congress Oct 21 Hearing by House Committee on House Administration HR 1719 Lofgren.  AJR-36 resolution in California legislature to endorse 1719
Congress referred to House Committee on House Admin HR 4449 Republican Kevin McCarthy, CA.  Reimburse states for OLVR.
Congress Sept 18, 2014, Senator Gillibrand S.2865 Amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to provide for voter registration through the Internet
Congress May 4, 2010 referred to Senate Rules & Admin. Committee S.3301 Ron Wyden Oregon; John Kerry MA.  Reimburse up to $150,000 for OLVR

From testimony of Katie Blinn, Assistant Director of Elections on behalf of Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, to the Congressional Committee on House Administration, Oct 21, 2009:

“The online voter registration system has also been very popular with election administrators. It has reduced their workload because the information comes in electronically. They don’t have to spend so much time manually entering the information from paper forms. This also reduces the risk of mistyping a voter’s name, address, date of birth, etc.”

“If the applicant provides an incorrect or nonexistent driver’s license, the program will not allow the applicant to advance to the next screen and finish the application. While it might initially seem that this form of registration is more subject to fraud, it is actually less because it controls whether the user can advance through the application.”

Web page by Paul Malischke malischke@yahoo.com  Last updated September 10, 2016