If the Senate agrees with the idea, Alaskans will be able to cast their ballots on the same day they register to vote. On Friday morning, the Alaska House of Representatives voted 22-17 to approve House Bill 1, which allows Alaskans to register to vote on Election Day, then cast a ballot for statewide office. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, who said in a prepared statement that it may improve voter turnout. “The right to vote embodies the spirit of American democracy, casting a vote is the most effective way to have one’s voice heard in the political process,” he said. “When we exercise our right to vote we impact our community far beyond election night, we elect individuals to act on our behalf to manage government services, set policies that shape our state, and invest and develop our resources.”
In the 2016 national election, 15 states and the District of Columbia offered Election-Day voter registration. According to the organization Nonprofit VOTE, those 15 states had a voter turnout of 67 percent. The national average was 60 percent. Alaska’s turnout was 60.8 percent.
Wendy Underhill, director of elections for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said there’s a slow trend for more states to adopt same-day registration.
“There’s a whole panoply of registration efforts to make it as clean and as accurate as possible and make sure that people who are eligible to vote can vote,” she said.