Same-Day Registration (SDR) is a  process intended to increase voter participation by allowing persons to vote on the spur of the moment. Historically, the US Supreme Court has allowed states to close the poll books 30 days before an election, so election officials can confirm the residency of each new voter. SDR bypasses those rules in several states, by allowing people to register and vote at the same time.

In North Carolina, the conventional voter verification process is short circuited by SDR. As a result, there is a concern that out-of-state voters have been abusing SDR in order to “vote where it counts.” In other words, they can easily find ways to cast a vote in NC even though they do not have any true intent to live at the address they claimed.

To be clear, most persons using SDR are not gaming the system, but research has indicated that a certain percentage of SDR voters are never found after they cast their vote. The election board follows the law in sending those voters their registration card, but thousands of them have been returned by the post office. So, in North Carolina, votes count . . . even when voters vanish!

This plenary research will attempt to measure how many people could have abused this procedure during the most contentious election in recent North Carolina history, but we need your help!

Research Plan

1. First, we “scrubbed” race and party information from the roster of SDR voters that was provided by the State Board of Elections and offer the information to a trusted County Research Leader, who agrees to have the file mail merged with a Word document and to print the statements for Canvassers to use.

2. Canvassing. There is a time-honored American tradition of political activists walking their neighborhoods to identify people most likely to support their candidate or party. This process modifies that tradition for after-the-vote confirmation. This phase of the research depends on people attempting to contact as many of the SDR voters as they can and to determine some of the circumstances involving how they registered.

3. Analysis. During the 2014-2015 federal trials over the state’s election law reforms, it was learned that a small percentage of SDR voters could never be verified. Even though their votes count, we want to learn as much as possible, as soon after the election as possible, on how many such voters participated in our state. So all field canvassers need to return the completed forms to the County Research Leader in a prompt manner.

Click here to see a sample of the Canvasser Statement we will be using for this research.

Click here to volunteer in this project.