Universal Voter Registration: The Massachusetts Health Care Model
The overall goal of FairVote's 100% Registration Project is to create a voter registration system under which the government shares responsibility for registration with its citizens to ensure full and accurate voter rolls. Massachusetts recently enacted bi-partisan health care reform legislation that requires residents to obtain health coverage, while providing expanded funding and assistance for coverage through the state. In such a way, the state has created a model for how to balance government and individual responsibility that can be applied to other policy areas, such as voter registration. Having 100% registration will address the remarkably low 72% rate of registration among eligible voters that contributes to low voter turnout, significantly reduce duplications and omissions in the voter rolls and help create a system that balances the concerns of election accessibility and voter fraud.

We reviewed whether state governments have the power to implement compulsory voter registration laws to achieve universal voter registration in a manner similar to the Massachusetts Act that requires all state residents to obtain health insurance policies. We conclude that such a policy is not only possible, but could potentially serve as a powerful model for boosting registration, turnout and civic engagement among many sectors of society. Our legal research memo outlines how such a policy would have to be enacted and includes sample legislation.

[Download Universal Voter Registration Memo - .pdf - 210 KB] NEW!
Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
Mandatory Voting? Automatic Registration? How Un-American!
Huffington Post

President of Air America Media, Mark Green, explains why Instant Runoff Voting, Automatic Registration and Mandatory Voting are not only important but could lead to a more democratic society.

September 30th 2009
Can a 17-year-old register to vote? It depends
Ventura County Star

"Most Californians register to vote not because a political cause has touched their heart, but rather because they checked a box on a form at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they received or renewed their driver´┐Żs license."

September 27th 2009
Giving teens a civic voice
The Fayetteville Observer

In January, North Carolina will become the third state to implement FairVote-endorsed youth preregistration.

September 8th 2009
Give voters final say on vacancies

The two legislators proposing a constitutional amendment mandating elections to fill Senate vacancies make their case in the pages of Politico.