It is unclear if Wyoming will join the growing number of states that are adding the ability of residents to register to vote online, state officials say. Recently passed legislation in Maryland makes it the 10th state to implement online voter registration. Advocates of abandoning the paper-only policy say it can save money and make voting more accessible to the public.
Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said many states have considered adding the online option since Arizona became the first in 2002.
Aside from the 10 states that have passed laws allowing online registration, 15 others have proposed legislation to create an online system in the past year, Bowser said.
“They are looking at it mostly because of cost and accuracy,” she added. “(Online registration) is less error prone because there aren’t as many mistakes with handwriting or people leaving out information.
“So it can save states time and money for things like elections officials not having to call (voters) to check the information.”
A report from the Pew Center on the States found during the 2008 election cycle that processing each paper registration form cost states 83 cents. In contrast, the cost to process an automated online registration was only three cents.
Wyoming legislators say the state has not considered or studied going to online voter registration in the past and there are no immediate plans to do so.
But state Sen. Wayne Johnson, R-Cheyenne and a member of the legislative Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, said the legislators would consider a proposal if it had the backing of the secretary of state’s office and of county clerks across the state.