Over the New Years break, we got in a twitter debate over automatic registration. As always some on the left argue for automatic registration. They say this is for increased turnout. The problem with this is there is no evidence that turnout is increased. For example, Canada actually saw a downturn in voter turnout when it went to automatic registration.
However there are some negative things that can happen with automatic registration such as increased costs and vote fraud. This is because automatic registration guarantees clogged and inaccurate voter rolls. Accurate voter rolls were a priority to President Obama’s bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) when it stated (emphasis added):
Improving the accuracy of registration rolls, for example, can expand access, reduce administrative costs, prevent fraud and irregularity, and reduce polling place congestion leading to long lines.
Automatic registration has no benefits but many minuses. One of those minuses is it would make vote fraud easier. As the PCEA said, accurate voting rolls help prevent fraud. Adding people who have no interest in elections or intention to vote (in some cases because they don’t intend to stay long in the area or are voting elsewhere) to voting rolls certainly presents the opportunity for fraud.