The Value of Online Registration

This past Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day. If you've moved or were previously unregistered, now is an ideal time to register to vote. When doing so would you rather hand-carry your registration to the local board of elections, entrust it to the U.S. Postal Service for delivery, or just go online and complete the process instantly?

David Ramadan, a Republican member of the House of Delegates, and Don Palmer, former Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections and Senior Adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center, wrote this week about the value of online registration in Virginia and beyond.

As Ramadan and Palmer point out, online registration systems are easier to use, cheaper, and yield a more accurate voter list than traditional paper-based systems.

Online registration mitigates the potential for human error, whether on the part of the voter filling out the form or the government employee transcribing the information. This enhanced accuracy will prevent commonplace situations such as voters arriving at the polls only to discover they are not actually registered or assigned to a different polling location from occurring. Additionally, online registration better protects voter privacy because, instead of handing over personal information to another person at a registration drive, the voter can submit their information directly to their local election authority.

Enhanced efficiency and security in addition to a lightened burden on individual voters will increase confidence in the system and is sure to increase election participation. Other jurisdictions would do well to follow Virginia's lead when it comes to online voter registration.