EDR – Proponents cannot have it both ways

John Hartwell interviewed Secretary of the State Denise Merill on Stream on Conscience  <view>

Although I am a supporter of EDR in theory. I am against the current Election Day Registration (EDR) bill as it portends chaos in a popular election and denies EDR voters the rights to privacy booths, ballot clerks, their votes being counted publicly by optical scanner, and does not provide a right to register if they are in line at 8:00 pm.

States that have successfully implemented EDR have seen turnout increase 3% to 7% with 10% to 20% EDR registrants to get the increased turnout. (They use a different model than CT, so it is hard to predict if our model will have the same results in turnout and voter appreciation)

Poponents tout those gains in turnout, but then estimate very few will use EDR when it comes to claiming it won’t cost municipalities much and would not result in lines etc. (Underestimating the result here would increase the odds of chaos if other states’ turnout estimates are the correct  ones)

In this interview the Secretary claims early on (8:25 in the video) that states recently implementing EDR have a 10% increase in turnout, but then later finds it hard to accept John’s example of 10% of voters in Westport using EDR (21:20) as “assuming a very large number”. Contrary to the Secretary’s contention that “it is all done by computer”, registering someone who is registered elsewhere in Connecticut involves calling a registrars office, that office calling a polling place, and then responding back to make sure the voter had not previously voted.

It is correct that testing in a low turnout election (2013) would be a good time to roll out the system. However, that can also generate a false sense of confidence, with a huge turnout and huge EDR turnout in a later more popular election (2014 or 2016).

Listen to the entire interview. Many other items of interest are discussed. The Secretary is worried about gangs at polls intimidating voters in the past and potential for chaos at the polls this fall (16:30).

More details on our concerns with the current EDR bill <here>

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