Texas voters have already submitted their ballots for the 2022 primary election. More states have their primary elections on the horizon. With the 2022 primary election season nearly upon us, many voters have questions to ask, including whether their state is an open or closed primary, when the election is, and when they can register to vote or change their registration. Nineteen states, as of 2021, implemented same-day voter registration on Election Day. With same-day voter registration, any qualified state resident may register to vote and cast a ballot simultaneously.
In mid-March, the Idaho House passed House Bill 761, which would make several changes to the state’s election code. The bill would increase the requirements for Idahoans to register to vote on Election Day, mandating additional documentation. Specifically, the bill would demand that residents bring documents proving their citizenship and identity. Acceptable documents would consist of one photo ID, one address verification document, and one proof of US citizenship document.
Acceptable photo ID documents under the legislation would include a current Idaho driver’s license, a current US passport, a current active US military ID card, among other items. Acceptable address verification documents would have to display the individual’s current address and a date that is at least 30 days before the election date. A utility bill within the last six months would be permitted, but a cell phone bill would not be accepted.
Mississippi lawmakers introduced House Bill 308 in early January. The bill, which died in committee, would authorize same-day voter registration. The bill would allow a qualified elector who wishes to register to vote to register on the day of an election and then cast their vote at the proper polling location. When registering, an applicant would have to present a photo ID. If that photo ID does not include proof of residential address, the voter would also have to submit identification showing their address, such as a utility bill with their name and current address with a due date no later than 30 days after that election.
Legislation allowing same-day voter registration was introduced this year in New Jersey in S247 and A1966. Currently, residents must be registered 21 days before an election to be eligible to vote in that election. The legislation would reduce the standard voter registration deadline to eight days before an election and allow voter registration at polling places on Election Day and at offices where mail-in ballots are issued within 45 days of an election.
The Senate version was pulled from a committee vote recently. The legislature’s top lawmaker, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, came out against the bill not long after.
Two resolutions in Rhode Island would send the question of same-day voter registration to the ballot for voters to decide on. S 2216 and H 7225 would specifically authorize a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would remove the requirement that voter registration is completed thirty days before an election.
In February, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended that S 2216 be held for further study. The House State Government & Elections Committee similarly recommended that H 7225 be held for further study.