Getting on the rolls: Analyzing the effects of lowered barriers on voter registration

Cynthia Rugeley, Robert A. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


States and the federal government have initiated reforms designed to increase voting participation. Research has focused on the effects of these reforms - specifically, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) - on voter turnout, but little research has focused directly on voter registration. Moving beyond the question of whether the NVRA increased registration, we ask: Did its implementation diminish the influence of core demographic variables on registration, producing a more representative pool of registered citizens? Relying on data from Current Population Surveys, our analyses provide limited affirmative support. The NVRA attenuated the influence of income in the states with no previous Motor Voter laws. It also reduced the on-year influence of age and the off-year influence of residential stability in these states and those that had prior passive Motor Voter laws. It did not have a similar effect on the influence of other core characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-78
Number of pages23
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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