Democratic lawmakers say allowing voters to register and cast ballots on the same day would increase election participation, but some county officials worry that it would further complicate the voting process. State Rep. Martin J. Quezada, D-Avondale, and state Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, have introduced legislation that would allow people to register and cast provisional ballots on election day. The bills also would rescind a state law cutting off voter registration 29 days before an election. “People express a lot of interest within those last two to three weeks before an election,” Quezada said. “They’re seeing more commercials, they’re seeing more TV, they’re seeing more mail.” He said that many people become interested too late and end up not being able to vote.
“Why do we have to have that deadline?” Quezada said. “There are other states who allow people to register to vote and vote any time up to and including on election day. What it does it opens the doors for people to participate in the electoral process.”
If either of the bills becomes law, Arizona would join the eight states, as well as the District of Columbia, in offering same-day registration. Two other states have passed laws creating it.
In addition to Arizona, 10 states have pending legislation proposing same-day registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
States with same-day registration have turnout rates nearly 6 percent higher than states that don’t offer it, according to Demos, a progressive public policy research group.