In electoral systems, voter registration (or enrollment) is the requirement that a person otherwise eligible to vote must register (or enroll) on an electoral roll, which is usually a prerequisite for being entitled or permitted to vote. The rules governing registration vary between jurisdictions. In most jurisdictions, voting and registration is optional, while in others (such as in Australia) registration and voting are compulsory for citizens of voting age.
In some jurisdictions, enrollment may require an application being made by an eligible voter and registered persons to re-register or update registration details when they change residence or other relevant information changes. In some jurisdictions, an enrollment agency may receive change of address information from other government agencies, which is used to automatically update voter details; for example, when a person registers a change of residence with a government agency for, say, a driver's license, the government agency may forward the information to the electoral agency to update voter registration details. Some jurisdictions have "election day registration" and others do not require registration, or may require production of evidence of entitlement to vote at time of voting. In jurisdictions where registration is not mandatory, an effort may be made to encourage persons otherwise eligible to vote to register, in what is called as a voter registration drive. In countries where resident registration is compulsory, voter registration usually does not exist, since voter eligibility can be determined from the residence register.
Even in countries where registration is the individual's responsibility, many reformers, seeking to maximize voter turnout, argue for a wider availability of the required forms, or more ease of process by having more places where they can register. The United States, for example, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 ("Motor Voter Law") and similar laws require states to offer voter registration at motor vehicle departments (driver's license offices) as well as disability centers, public schools, and public libraries, in order to offer more access to the system. State authorities are also required to accept mail-in voter registrations. Many jurisdictions also offer online registrations.
Registration laws making it harder for voters to register correlate strongly with lower percentages of people turning out to vote where voting is voluntary.
Historically in the United States, the southern states of the former Confederacy passed new constitutions and laws at the turn of the century that created barriers to voter registration, such as poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and complicated record keeping requirements. In practice, in their system of Jim Crow, these elements were used to disenfranchise most African Americans and many poor whites from voting, excluding thousands of people in each state from the political system. The minority of white Democrats in these states controlled the political process and elections, gaining outsize power locally and in Congress as the Solid South. The states maintained such exclusion of most African Americans for more than 60 years. Other minority groups have also been discriminated against by other states at various times in voter registration practices, such as Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and other language minorities.
Because of this history, voter registration laws and practices in the United States have been closely scrutinized by interest groups and the federal government, especially following passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It authorized federal oversight of jurisdictions with a history of under-representation of certain portions of their populations in voting. Such laws are often[ quantify ] controversial. Some[ who? ] advocate for their abolition, while others argue that the laws should be reformed, for instance: to allow voters to register on the day of the election. Several US states - Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming - have adopted this approach, called Election Day Registration. For the 2012 election year, California joined this list.[ citation needed ]
Systems of voter registration vary widely from country to country, and sometimes among lower jurisdictions, such as states or provinces. In some nations, voters are automatically added to the rolls when they reach legal voting age. In others, potential voters are required to apply to be added to the rolls.
Voter registration is compulsory in Australia for all citizens 18 years of age or above. The Australian Electoral Commission maintains Australia's federal electoral roll. Each state also has its own electoral commission or office, but voters need to register only with the AEC, which shares the registration details with the relevant state electoral commission.
In Canada, the National Register of Electors is a continuously-updated permanent database of eligible electors for federal elections in Canada maintained by Elections Canada. In the 1990s Canada adopted an opt-in process, by which voters mark their consent to be added the national register on their annual income tax returns.
The Register is also updated using the following sources:
Same-day registration is also permitted.
Since 2012, voter registration in Chile is automatic. It is based on a database by the Civil Registry Office of Chileans and resident foreigners in possession of an identity card number, which is unique for each individual when issues and is never re-used after a person's death. All Chileans and eligible foreigners are added automatically to the electoral roll at age 17 and placed on an electoral constituency based on their last reported address with the Office. That address, known as "electoral domicile," can be different from a person's living address, if so desired. The electoral roll may contain a substantial number of persons residing abroad. Residents abroad are not allowed to vote in Chilean elections.
All citizens and residents are included in the national register. Each person is assigned a personal identification number that includes the person's date of birth and is divisible by 11.[ citation needed ]
All citizens and residents of Denmark are included in the national register, Det Centrale Personregister. Each person is assigned a personal number of ten digits, which include the person's date of birth. The register is used for tax lists, voter lists, membership in the universal health care system, official record of residence, and other purposes. All eligible voters receive a card in the mail before each election which shows the date, time and local polling place; it may only be presented at the designated local polling station. Only citizens may vote in national elections, while long-time residents may vote in local and regional elections. Permanent address within Denmark is required in order to vote. Voting is voluntary.
Voter registration in Finland is automatic and based on the national population register. Each citizen is assigned an identification number at birth. Permanent residents are recorded in this register even if they are not citizens, and their citizenship status is indicated in the register. People in the register are legally obliged to notify the register keeper of changes of address. Changing the address in the register automatically notifies all other public bodies (for example the tax district for local taxation, the social security authorities, the conscription authorities) and certain trusted private ones (e.g. banks and insurance companies), making the process of moving residence very simple. Close to election time, the government mails a notification to registered persons informing them of the election and where and when to cast their votes. Only citizens may vote in national elections, but all residents may vote in local elections.
In Germany, there is no separate voter registration, as resident registration is compulsory.
All permanent residents of Germany are required to register their place of residence (or the fact that they are homeless) with local government. Citizens who will be 18 or older on the day of voting automatically receive a notification card in the mail some weeks before any election in which they are eligible to vote: for local elections, resident citizens of other EU countries will also receive these cards and may vote. Polling places have lists of all eligible voters resident in the neighborhood served by the particular station; the voter's notification card (or photo ID such as an identity card or passport if the notification card is not at hand) is checked against these lists before individuals receive a ballot. Voting is not compulsory.
In Hong Kong all permanent residents who are above 18 years of age and do not suffer from a mental illness can register as voters. Imprisoned people can also register and vote since the laws prohibiting them from voting was ruled unconstitutional in 2009 and are able to vote since mid-2010 as the electoral roll is updated annually.[ citation needed ] The registration process is voluntary. In 2002 around 1.6 million permanent residents did not register.
All citizens of Iceland are registered in a central database at birth, which is maintained by Registers Iceland. They do not need to register separately to vote.
The Government of India conducts a revision of the voters list every 5 years. An additional summary revision is conducted every year. Apart from this, citizens can request their inclusion in the voters list by applying through Form 6. If the application is valid, the applicant's name will get included in the list.[ citation needed ] At 18 years old, completed person should be eligible for voter list (for Indian citizens only).
In Israel, all citizens who are 18 years of age or older on election day are automatically registered to vote.
In Italy, all municipalities have a registry of residents and a registry of eligible voters. This is revised every six months and whenever there is an election. The registry of eligible voters can be viewed by anyone to ensure maximum transparency in the electoral process. [ citation needed ]All citizens aged 18 or more on the election day are automatically registered to vote.
Mexico has a general electoral census. Any citizen of age 18 or greater must go to an electoral office in order be registered into the electoral census. Citizens receive a voting card (credencial de elector con fotografía), issued by the National Electoral Institute (INE) (from 1990 until 4/2014 it was called Federal Electoral Institute) that must be shown to vote in any election. The voting card also serves as a national identity document.[ citation needed ]
No separate voter registration: all eligible voters receive an invitation with a poll card using the national Civil registration (Basic Registry of Persons). Voters must present a valid ID that has not expired for more than 5 years at the polling station.Eligibility varies depending on the type of election. For national and provincial elections, only Dutch civilians are permitted to vote, while for European Parliament elections one has to have the nationality of an EU member state. In municipal elections, eligibility is dependent on the place of residency on nomination day, with non-EU nationals also having voting rights when they have been living in the Netherlands legally for five years or more.
There is no separate voter registration: All eligible voters can automatically vote. Citizens and residents of Norway are included in the national register, Folkeregisteret, where each person is assigned a personal number of eleven digits which include the person's date of birth. The register is used for tax lists, voter lists, membership in the universal health care system and other purposes, and it is maintained by the tax authorities. People in the register are legally obliged to notify the register keeper of changes of address, no sooner than 31 days before, and no later than 8 days after a change of address. Changing the address in the register automatically notifies other public bodies (for example the tax district for local taxation, the social security authorities, the conscription authorities), making the process of moving residence very simple. All eligible voters receive a card in the mail before each election which shows the date, time and local polling place. Voters are assigned to a district based on the official address of residence per 30 June in the election year. Elections are normally held the 2nd Monday of September. Voters may vote early in any district in the country, usually at City Hall or similar, or in embassies and consulates abroad. Early voting starts in July, and ends about a week before election day. Only citizens may vote in national elections, while longtime residents may vote in local and regional elections. Voting is not compulsory.
All citizens of Peru between 18 and 70 years are registered to vote through the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status, except all members of the police and the armed forces, who are not allowed to participate in elections. For all citizens in the country and abroad voting is mandatory, unless legally exempted. Failing to vote in the election of 7 Oct 2018 was fined with S/ 83, with 50% or 75% discount for areas with poverty or extreme poverty, and this must be paid to get access to many public services.
This section should include a summary of Voter registration in the Philippines.(October 2016)
There is no formal process for voter registration for South Korean citizens. All citizens will be automatically listed in the voters' list upon each election date. A domestic in-absentee vote was ceased and citizens can visit any residents' center (주민센터) and vote in advance during the weekend before the actual election date.
However, citizens either temporary visiting or permanently residing abroad must register for an overseas in-absentee ballot in order to vote. Voting can be done in Korean overseas missions.
No registration is required: all Spanish citizens of voting age are listed in the electoral roll through the National Statistics Institute's Electoral Census Office. Only citizens may vote in national and regional elections, while foreign residents may vote in local elections upon a reciprocity basis. Citizens from other European Union countries may also vote in European elections. Certain convicted felons are disenfranchised while serving their sentences, but their voting rights are automatically restored afterwards without exception. Most prisoners are not disenfranchised and can vote by mail as absentees.
All eligible voters receive a letter in the mail to their registered address prior to election Sunday showing the date, time and local polling place, which is almost invariably the nearest school or the town hall in very small towns without a school. Polling may also be done at a Spanish diplomatic mission if residing overseas. All absentee and early voting ballots are sent physically to the registered local polling station for counting and double checking the voter's identity with the electoral roll eliminating any risk of double voting. Government-issued ID is required to vote. Voting is not compulsory.
Voter registration in Sweden is automatic and based on the national population register, Folkbokföringsregistret, administered by the Swedish Tax Agency, where all citizens and residents of Sweden are included. Permanent residents are recorded in this register even if they are not citizens but enjoy right of residence, and their citizenship status is indicated in the register.
Only Swedish citizens being 18 years old on the election day and living in Sweden may vote in all public elections. Registered residents may vote in local and regional elections if they are citizens of another EU Member State, Iceland or Norway. Citizens of other countries and stateless persons can vote in the municipal and county elections if they have been recorded in the Swedish Population Register for at least three consecutive years before election day.Swedish citizens that are resident abroad have the right to vote in Riksdag and EU elections only. To maintain a record in the electoral roll as an expatriate, one needs to refresh the registration within 10 years; a vote counts as a valid refresh.
All eligible voters receive a letter in the mail to their registered address of 30 days prior to election day, in Sweden or abroad, which shows the date (always on a Sunday, normally in September every 4 years), time and local polling place. Polling may also be done anywhere in the country at various early voting stations determined by the local Election Committee or at a Swedish Diplomatic mission, all to facilitate for the voters.
All citizens of Taiwan are registered in a national database at birth, which is maintained by the Household Registration Office and the Central Election Commission of Taiwan. Taiwanese citizens do not need to register separately to vote, whereas all citizens above twenty years old will be automatically informed by postal mail from the government few weeks before every public election.
This article needs to be updated.(March 2010)
In the UK voter registration is compulsory, [ when? ] system of registration in the United Kingdom (UK), introduced by the Labour government, is known as rolling registration. Electors can register with a local authority at any time of the year. This replaced the twice-yearly census of electors, which often disenfranchised those who had moved during the interval between censuses.but the requirement to register is rarely enforced. The current
Across the country, the registration of electors is still technically the responsibility of the head of household, a concept which some consider to be anachronistic in modern society. This current[ when? ] system is controversial, as it is possible for one person to delete persons who live with them from the electoral roll. As of January 2012, mandatory individual registration, pursuant to the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009, was anticipated.
A feasibility study for electronic individual voter registration (IVR), based on the experience of other nations, was undertaken by EURIM (Information Society Alliance) in 2010. The final report was released in 2011.According to the House of Commons Hansard from 16 January 2012, the IVR initiative is yet to be implemented in the UK. There was discussion of data from Northern Ireland, where individual voter registration levels significantly decreased following the introduction of an IVR policy.
In an experiment in Northern Ireland using personal identifiers, such as National Insurance numbers and signatures, the number of registered electors fell by some ten thousand. It was also understood that the new process may have resulted in fictitious voters being dropped from rolls.[ citation needed ]
Registration is mandatory pursuant to section 23 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (No. 341) and violators are liable on summary conviction and face a maximum fine of £1,000. Voters must be on the electoral roll in order to vote in national, local or European elections. A fixed address is required in order for an individual to vote in an election. To provide for persons who are transient, if an individual lacking a fixed address wants to vote, they may register by filling in a 'Declaration of local connection' form. This establishes a connection to the area based on the last fixed address someone had, or the place where they spend a substantial amount of their time (e.g. a homeless shelter).
A voting card is sent to each registrant shortly before any elections. The individual does not need to take the card to the polling station, instead it serves to remind individuals of the details they had provided to the electoral register.
In the United States, states generally require voter registration, with North Dakota being the only state which has no registration requirement. Some U.S. states do not require advance registration, instead allowing voters to register when they arrive at the polls, in what is called same day registration (SDR) or election day registration (EDR).
Same-day registration (SDR) has been linked to higher voter turn-out, with SDR states reporting average turn-out of 71% in the 2012 United States Presidential election, well above the average voter turn-out rate of 59% for non-SDR states.
Voter registration in the United States takes place at the county level, and is a prerequisite to voting at federal, state and local elections. The only exception is North Dakota, although North Dakota law allows cities to register voters for city elections.
A 2012 study by The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that 24% of the voting-eligible population in the United States are not registered to vote, a percentage that represents "at least 51 million eligible U.S. citizens."Numerous states had a history of creating barriers to voter registration through a variety of fees, literacy or comprehension tests, and record-keeping requirements that in practice discriminated against racial or ethnic minorities, language minorities, and other groups. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 forbade such abuses and authorized federal oversight in jurisdictions of historic under-representation of certain groups. States continue to develop new practices that may discriminate against certain populations. By August 2016, federal rulings in five cases have overturned all or parts of voter registration or voter ID laws in Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and North Dakota that were found to place undue burden on minorities and other groups among voters. The states were required to offer alternatives for the November 2016 elections; many of these cases were expected to reach the US Supreme Court for additional hearings.
While voters traditionally had to register at government offices by a certain period before an election, in the mid-1990s, the federal government made efforts to simplify registration procedures to improve access and increase turnout. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (the "Motor Voter" law) required state governments to either provide uniform opt-in registration services through drivers' license registration centers, disability centers, schools, libraries, and mail-in registration, or to allow voter registration on Election Day, where voters can register at polling places immediately prior to voting. From 1 January 2016, Oregon was the first state to adopt a fully automatic (opt-out) voter registration system as part of the process of issuing driver licenses and ID cards.By April 2016 three more states - California, West Virginia, and Vermont - followed suit, and in May 2016 Connecticut implemented it administratively rather than by legislation, bringing the number of states with automatic voter registration to five. Alaskan voters approved Measure 1 during the 8 November 2016 general election, allowing residents the ability to register to vote when applying annually for the state's Permanent Dividend Fund. Voter approval of Measure 1 made Alaska the first state to implement automatic (opt-in) voter registration via ballot initiative and the sixth state to implement automatic registration by any means including passing legislation. New York became the seventh and most recent state to implement automatic voter registration on 22 December 2020. Several more states have drafted legislation proposing automatic registration.
Political parties and other organizations sometimes hold voter registration drives, organized efforts to register groups of new voters.
Disfranchisement, also called disenfranchisement, or voter disqualification is the revocation of suffrage of a person or group of people, or a practice that has the effect of preventing a person exercising the right to vote. Disfranchisement can also refer to the revocation of power or control of a particular individual, community or being to the natural amenity they are abound in; that is to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, of some privilege or inherent immunity. Disfranchisement may be accomplished explicitly by law or implicitly through requirements applied in a discriminatory fashion, through intimidation, or by placing unreasonable requirements on voters for registration or voting.
The Australian electoral system comprises the laws and processes used for the election of members of the Australian Parliament. The system presently has a number of distinctive features including compulsory enrolment, compulsory voting, majority-preferential instant-runoff voting in single-member seats to elect the lower house, the House of Representatives, and the use of the single transferable vote proportional representation system to elect the upper house, the Senate.
Compulsory voting, also called mandatory voting, is the requirement in some countries that eligible citizens register and vote in elections. Penalties might be imposed on those who fail to do so without a valid reason. According to the CIA World Factbook, 21 countries, including 10 Latin American countries, officially had compulsory voting as of December 2017, with a number of those countries not enforcing it.
Elections in the United States are held for government officials at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, the nation's head of state, the president, is elected indirectly by the people of each state, through an Electoral College. Today, these electors almost always vote with the popular vote of their state. All members of the federal legislature, the Congress, are directly elected by the people of each state. There are many elected offices at state level, each state having at least an elective governor and legislature. There are also elected offices at the local level, in counties, cities, towns, townships, boroughs, and villages; as well as for special districts and school districts which may transcend county and municipal boundaries. According to a study by political scientist Jennifer Lawless, there were 519,682 elected officials in the United States as of 2012.
Elections in Australia take place periodically to elect the legislature of the Commonwealth of Australia, as well as for each Australian state and territory and for local government councils. Elections in all jurisdictions follow similar principles, though there are minor variations between them. The elections for the Australian Parliament are held under the federal electoral system, which is uniform throughout the country, and the elections for state and territory Parliaments are held under the electoral system of each state and territory.
An absentee ballot is a vote cast by someone who is unable or unwilling to attend the official polling station to which the voter is normally allocated. Methods include voting at a different location, postal voting, proxy voting and online voting. Increasing the ease of access to absentee ballots is seen by many as one way to improve voter turnout through convenience voting, though some countries require that a valid reason, such as infirmity or travel, be given before a voter can participate in an absentee ballot. Early voting overlaps with absentee voting. Early voting includes votes cast before the official election day(s), by mail, online or in-person at voting centers which are open for the purpose. Some places call early in-person voting a form of "absentee" voting, since voters are absent from the polling place on election day.
Early voting, also called advance polling or pre-poll voting, is a convenience voting process by which voters in a public election can vote before a scheduled election day. Early voting can take place remotely, such as via postal voting, or in person, usually in designated early voting polling stations. The availability and time periods for early voting vary among jurisdictions and types of election. The goals of early voting are usually to increase voter participation and relieve congestion at polling stations on election day.
Postal voting is voting in an election where ballot papers are distributed to electors by post, in contrast to electors voting in person at a polling station or electronically via an electronic voting system.
The Dominican Republic is a unitary state with elected officials at the national and local levels. On a national level, head of state, the President, is elected directly by the people. All members of a national legislature, The Congress of the Republic divided in two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. There are also elected offices at the local level. It is estimated that across the whole country, over four thousand offices are filled in every electoral cycle.
An electoral roll is a compilation that lists persons who are entitled to vote for particular elections in a particular jurisdiction. The list is usually broken down by electoral districts, and is primarily prepared to assist election officials at polling places. Most jurisdictions maintain permanent electoral rolls, which are updated continuously or periodically, while some jurisdictions compile new electoral rolls before each election. Electoral rolls are the end result of a process of voter registration. In most jurisdictions, voter registration is a prerequisite for voting at an election. Some jurisdictions do not require voter registration, and do not use electoral rolls, such as the State of North Dakota in the United States. In those jurisdictions a voter must provide identification and proof of entitlement to vote before being permitted to vote.
In most countries, suffrage, the right to vote, is generally limited to citizens of the country. In some countries voting rights are extended to resident non-citizens. Such rights are often restricted or limited in some ways, with the details of the restrictions or limitations varying from one country to another. Voting rights to non-citizens are not the same as a right to run for an elected or other public office.
Voter registration in the United States is required for voting in federal, state and local elections in the United States. The only exception is North Dakota, although cities in North Dakota may register voters for city elections. Voter registration takes place at the county level in many states and at the municipal level in several states. Most states set cutoff dates for voter registration and to update details, ranging from 2 to 4 weeks before an election; while a third of states have Election Day or "same-day" voter registration which enables eligible citizens to register or update their registration when they vote before or on election day.
Electors must be on the electoral register in order to vote in elections and referendums in the UK. Electoral registration officers within local authorities have a duty to compile and maintain accurate electoral registers.
A resident register is a government database which contains information on the current residence of persons. In countries where registration of residence is compulsory, the current place of residence must be reported to the registration office or the police within a few days after establishing a new residence. In some countries, residence information may be obtained indirectly from voter registers or registers of driver licenses. Besides a formal resident registers or population registers, residence information needs to be disclosed in many situations, such as voter registration, passport application, and updated in relation to drivers licenses, motor vehicle registration, and many other purposes. The permanent place of residence is a common criterion for taxation including the assessment of a person's income tax.
There are five types of elections in the United Kingdom: elections to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elections to devolved parliaments and assemblies, local elections, mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Within each of those categories, there may also be by-elections. Elections are held on Election Day, which is conventionally a Thursday. Since the passing of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 for general elections, all five types of elections are held after fixed periods, though early elections to parliament and the devolved assemblies and parliaments can occur in certain situations. The five electoral systems used are: the single member plurality system (first-past-the-post), the multi-member plurality system, the single transferable vote, the additional member system and the supplementary vote.
The National Register of Electors is a continuously-updated permanent database of eligible electors for federal elections in Canada maintained by Elections Canada. It was established in December 1996 when Bill C-63 was granted royal assent by the Governor General of Canada, and the preliminary National Register of Electors was populated with data in April 1997 during the final Canada-wide enumeration. It replaced a system which required door-to-door enumeration of eligible electors for each electoral event. The database contains basic information about electors: name, address, sex, and date of birth. An elector may register or update their personal information between elections, or may request to be excluded from it per the Canada Elections Act.
An anonymous elector is generally a registered voter whose safety would be at risk if their details were available on a public electoral register.
A voter identification law is a law that requires a person to show some form of identification in order to vote. In many jurisdictions requiring voter IDs, voters who do not have photo ID often must sign a Challenged Voter Affidavit in order to receive a ballot to vote.
The right of expatriates to vote in elections in their country of origin varies depending on the legislation of an expatriate’s country of origin. Some countries grant their expatriate citizens unlimited voting rights, identical to those of citizens living in their home country. Other countries allow expatriate citizens to vote only for a certain number of years after leaving the country, after which they are no longer eligible to vote. Other countries reserve the right vote solely to citizens living in that country, thereby stripping expatriate citizens of their voting rights once they leave their home country.
In Australia, voter registration is called enrolment. Enrolment is a prerequisite for voting at federal elections, by-elections and referendums, as well as all state and local government elections; and it is generally compulsory for enrolled persons to vote unless otherwise exempted or excused. Enrolment is compulsory for Australian citizens over 18 years of age who have lived at their current address for at least one month. Enrolment is not compulsory for persons with no fixed address who are not already enrolled. Residents in Australia who had been enrolled as British subjects on 25 January 1984, though not Australian citizens, continue to be enrolled, and cannot opt out of enrolment. For local government elections, an elector generally does not require to be an Australian citizen. Once enrolled, a person cannot opt out of enrolment. Enrolment is optional for 16- or 17-year-olds, but they cannot vote until they turn 18, and persons who have applied for Australian citizenship may also apply for provisional enrolment which takes effect on the granting of citizenship.
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