HeadCount Blog

Millions of Young Voters Unsure of Voter Registration Status After Moving

September 18, 2012 By Andy Bernstein | Comments

Young voters who first cast a Presidential ballot in 2008 could be in for a rude surprise when they head to the polls this year.  A HeadCount survey found that seven out of ten had moved in the last four years, and 43 percent of those potential voters haven’t updated their voter registration since.

When asked if they are confident that they are registered to vote at their current address, more than half – 52% – said no or that they were unsure.

With new voter ID laws in some states requiring voters to prove they live at the address where they are registered, millions could be stopped from voting on Election Day.

Moreover, a full 46% of all those surveyed said they are unsure of the ID requirements to vote in their state. Among those, 62% has not updated their voter registration or were unsure if they had.

Even those who have updated their voter registration could have trouble at the polls if they have not also obtained a new drivers license or valid ID listing their new address. While most states will accept any valid ID, rules vary and voters are encouraged to always bring a secondary proof of address – such as a utility bill – if their voter registration does not match their ID. State-by-state voter ID laws can be found here.

The survey focused exclusively on young Americans who first became eligible to vote for President in 2008. That age group includes approximately 15.5 million citizens, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly half of whom voted four years ago.

“State legislatures around the country have passed laws in the past four years that make it harder for people to register and vote. This study shows a significant portion of young Americans could be turned away because of these new laws,” said Ben Hovland, Senior Counsel with the Fair Elections Legal Network.

HeadCount stages voter registration drives at concerts by artists such as Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Jay-Z. They train their volunteers to ask attendees: “Are you registered to vote at your current address?” The last part of the question causes many people to pause and realize they are unsure.

With that in mind, HeadCount has turned to musicians and entertainers to stage a large-scale social media campaign aimed at making it easy for anyone to update their voter registration or register for the first time.

On Tuesday September 25th – dubbed “National Voter Registration Day” – over 100 musicians, comedians and actors will make tweets and Facebook posts with links to a website where people can fill out voter registration forms. Each tweet and post will also include a photo of the celebrity holding up a clipboard that says “Register to Vote.” The entertainers involved collectively have over 100 million Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

The campaign will include many of the top-drawing concert acts in rock, and hip hop, as well as some of the most popular stand-up comics and Hollywood stars. Some of the photos can be previewed at HeadCount’s Facebook page:http://www.Facebook.com/headcountorg

National Voter Registration Day will involve thousands of volunteers from hundreds of organizations registering voters in their communities. It stands to be the largest one-day voter registration drive in history. In addition to the on-line activity, HeadCount will stage voter registration campaigns in more than 30 cities around the U.S., deploying at transportation centers, retail stores and concerts. Any individual who wishes to volunteer can sign up or get more information by clicking here.

HeadCount provides voter registration assistance on a strictly nonpartisan basis to any U.S. citizen age 18 or over without regard to political affiliation, race, religion, or age. HeadCount does not endorse, support or coordinate with any political party or candidates for elected office, or take positions on any ballot initiatives.