State election records show that voters in Wisconsin’s Democratic-leaning counties have been more likely to register to vote at the polls, but voters in Republican-leaning areas also made heavy use of the state’s same-day registration law. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that in three recent statewide elections, one in eight ballots came from voters who registered that same day, according to data from the Government Accountability Board. The data was for the November 2008 and November 2010 elections, and the June 2012 gubernatorial recall election.
According to the numbers, 16 percent of voters in Democratic-leaning counties statewide registered on the day of the presidential election in 2008, when President Barack Obama won Wisconsin. In GOP-leaning areas, the rate of same-day registration was just 2.6 percentage points lower.
Two years later when Republican Scott Walker was elected governor, the same-day registration rate was 5.9 percentage points higher for Democratic-leaning areas.
Barry Burden, a UW-Madison professor who studies Wisconsin elections, said the data shows a loose connection between same-day registration and heavier Democratic voting.
“Democratic voters are generally younger, more urban, and more mobile, thus putting them in categories that necessitate more frequent (address) changes to keep their registration up to date,” Burden said. “It makes sense that Republican counties are those with more stable populations, and thus have less need for EDR (election day registration).”