In 2013, Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck came close to passing a bill that would require county and city clerks to allow voters to register and vote on election day. The bill was killed over a concerns about costs and possible fraud issues, but now Chavez-Houck has resurrected the bill as a pilot program that cities and counties would voluntarily opt into. With a pilot program, municipal and county clerks would be able to accept registration and then offer a provisional ballot on election day to a voter that would be counted after the vote was verified. As a pilot program participating counties would closely monitor the same-day votes and report back their findings to the Legislature to see if there are any concerns or abuse of the process.
“They’re going to report on this every year so you can see through municipal, mid-term and presidential elections, we’ll have all that data,” Chavez-Houck said. “We won’t be dealing with hypotheticals anymore.”
Representatives of county clerks’ offices were excited about the bill and said it was unlikely that someone could register and cast multiple ballots in different counties or cities on election day, because provisional ballots get verified through the state before the votes are registered.
Chavez-Houck explained that perhaps the biggest benefit would be allowing people to vote who through no fault of their own may lose that ability if their registration is lost.