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Election Day voter registration in Utah advances

Published March 10, 2014 10:39 am

Pilot project • Would allow counties and cities to choose to participate through 2016.
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The House on Monday endorsed creating a pilot project through the 2016 elections to allow voters to register on Election Day in those counties or cities that choose to participate.

The House voted 42-26 to endorse HB156, and sent it to the Senate.

"Instead of requiring clerks to do this statewide, it would allow counties and municipalities who are interested in test driving this particular project to see what it would be like to count provisional ballots" and handle same-day registration, said bill sponsor Rep. Rebecca Chavez Houck, D-Salt Lake City.

She said the state will watch what problems they encounter and how much it increases voter participation, and report to the Legislature. The bill would expire on Jan. 1, 2017.

Currently, potential voters must register more than 14 days before an election to participate, and live in Utah for at least 30 days before an election to qualify.

Reformers argue that registration on Election Day could increase participation, but some worry it could also increase voter fraud. Valid identification and proof of residency will be required for same-day registration.