Study Committee Considers Automatic Voter Registration

Aug 30, 2017

Members of a legislative study committee Wednesday debated the merits of automatic voter registration. The discussion was part of an examination of election laws’ impact on voter participation.

Ten states in the country have some form of automatic voter registration. In most of them, citizens are registered to vote while doing other business at the BMV.

Advocates say the system could increase voter turnout.

Angie Nussmeyer is the Democratic co-director of the Indiana Election Division, a bipartisan state agency. She says unregistered people often reach out to them right before elections, only to hear that it’s too late.

"That has the unintended consequence of having a suppressive action on that individual," Nussmeyer says. "Because they think 'It's too hard, I'm not gonna do it,'"

One argument levied against automatic registration is that it would create a huge voter database, causing turnout percentages to decrease.

Testifying at the hearing, Secretary of State Connie Lawson says election security has consumed her office. And she says while early voting increased in the 2016 election, she sees no correlation between early voting and voter turnout.