Voter registration reform is being discussed in many countries. What improves register quality?
Holly Ann Garnett and I evaluate electoral register quality in 159 countries in a new research paper.
We find that automatic voter registration (‘AVR’) improves *both* completeness and accuracy. This is significant because many contemporary debates suggest that there is often a trade off.
Countries looking to improve electoral register quality should therefore look towards automation. Our study also points to importance of the quality of performance the electoral management body. Importantly both these things are in the hands of policy makers – meaning that good quality registers can be delivered everywhere.
The article can be download free, open access here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00344893.2023.2207194
We have also written an op-Ed for the Washington Post, which is available here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/23/voter-registration-fraud-suppression/
Many countries are able to deliver AVR quite easily because there is a civil population register. In countries without a civil population register, it can be more complicated to provide AVR. However, there are still ways of making this possible. For a guide on how this can be introduced, see this report with Paul Bernal on the UK: https://tobysjames.com/automatic-voter-registration-report/
Photo credit: Joe Brusky