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New Hampshire: Election Day Registration Helps Set Record Voter Turnout
J. Mijin Cha on January 10, 2008 - 11:08am
The New Hampshire primary voter turnout set a new record with over 500,000 residents participating in the Republication and Democratic primaries. While candidates worked hard to get voters turned out, residents of New Hampshire have an added advantage: New Hampshire is one of a select number of states that allow voters to register and vote on election day. Voter registration does close 10 days before the election, but voters that miss the deadline can register and vote on election day.
In Ward 6, by 8 a.m., 602 people had voted and 70 new voters were registered, more than 10% of the voters. Ward 11, by 7:45, had 255 votes and 22 new registered voters. In Manchester, city election workers handling same-day registration "rarely got a breather." Considering that the margin between the top two Democratic candidates was 3%, having a system that allows people to register and vote on election day can make a significant difference. As we've highlighted, election day registration results in higher voter turnout and encourages young people and those who are historically disenfranchised to vote.
Already the right-wing propaganda machine was at work, throwing in cries of the mythical voter fraud by pointing to a district that had 16 registered voters but 17 votes. In fact, the district did have 16 registered voters and on election day, then registered a resident that had moved away and returned too late for the pre-registration voter deadline-- the perfect example of why election day registration is necessary and how right-wing voter fraud charges are based on ignorance and propaganda.