While the United States is a democratic republic to be sure, could it be argued that some states are, in a way, more democratic than others? And, if so, is it arguable then that Same-Day-Voter-Registration is what makes a state more democratic? To keep it brief, the answer is yes. Same-Day-Voter-Registration ultimately does make a state more democratic because it allows more people to make put their preferences into action. Don’t believe it, take turnout analyst Michael McDonald’s study of the 2008 electorate. In hi study, McDonald found that five of the top six states in voter turnout were states with Same-Data-Voter-Registration. The states were ranked in the order as follows: Minnesota at 77.7%, Wisconsin 72.1%, New Hampshire at 71.1%, Maine at 70.9%, Colorado at 70.2%, and Iowa at 69.7%. Only Colorado, which is now a state that does implement Same-Day-Voter-Registration, had a registration deadline before the 2008 election. Every other state listed was one that allowed its residents to register to vote until polls closed November 4th.
Now, for those of you reading this in Oconomowoc, you read that right. Wisconsin, the Badger State, America’s Dairyland, our home-state was the state with the *second highest* voter turnout in the nation in 2008. Whether you agreed with the results of the 2008 election in Wisconsin or not, you should still take some pride in that. What this shows the rest of the country is that Wisconsin is a state of people that gets up and out of their homes on election day to make their voice heard all the way in Washington. It shows that we have strong sense of civil duty in Wisconsin, that we care about the makeup of our public sector and what we want our state to look like.
Although, none of this is to say that Wisconsin hasn’t faced a few hurdles in becoming the most democratic state in the nation. Most notably, Wisconsin’s Voter-ID laws from 2011 have caused a noticeable decline in Wisconsin’s overall turnout, lowering the Badger State’s overall voter turnout from 72.1% in 2008 to 69.6% in 2012 to an even lower 67.34% in 2016. But, that is not to say Wisconsin cannot recover. Afterall, Wisconsin was one of eight states, plus Washington, D.C., where more than fifty percent of its electorate voted in 2016.
But, would it not be something if Wisconsin were second highest in the nation again? Or, better yet, would it not be something if Wisconsin overtook Minnesota, and had the highest voter turnout in the nation? We tied our most recent game with the Vikings, so wouldn’t it be great to wake up November 7th and say we beat our northern rival? Well, we could do it, but only if we vote, Wisconsin. If we take advantage of our Same-Day-Registration, if we find our polling places, and if we bring acceptable ID along with us, we can do it, Wisconsin. We can tell the rest of the nation that we care about politics, that we’re an educated group of people up here in America’s Dairyland.
I’m not asking you to vote for anyone person, party, or position. All I’m asking in this piece is that you vote. So if you’re 18 or older, have an acceptable form of ID like your driver’s license, and know where your polling place is (just ask your parents where they would vote), then wait in that line or call out school in the morning, make use of same-day-registration, and vote!
Magney, Reid. “Voter Turnout Estimated at 3.1 Million.” Voter Turnout Estimated at 3.1 Million | Wisconsin Elections Commission, Wisconsin Election Commission, 2016, elections.wi.gov/node/4375
“Wisconsin Voter Turnout Statistics.” Wisconsin Voter Turnout Statistics | Wisconsin Elections Commission, Wisconsin Election Commission, 2018, elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/statistics/turnout.
Gilbert, Craig. “The Push to End Election-Day Registration in Wisconsin: How Strong Is the Case?” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA TODAY, 21 Jan. 2011, archive.jsonline.com/blogs/news/114376604.html
McDonald, Michael. “2016 November General Election Turnout Rates.” United States Elections Project, University of Florida Department of Political Science, 5 Sept. 2018, www.electproject.org/2016g