Poll Shows Majority Support for Ending Same-Day Voter Registration, Requiring Photo ID

poll

Most Believe Protecting Against Fraud More Important Than Increasing Turnout.

A decision by the Legislature to end the practice of same-day voter registration in Maine has the support of a majority of likely Maine voters, according to a new poll commissioned by The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC).

According to the poll, 53 percent of likely Maine voters support the Legislature’s recent decision to end same-day voter registration, including 72 percent of self-described conservatives and 53 percent of unenrolled/Independent voters.  47 percent oppose the elimination, including 71 percent of self-described liberals.

Critics of same-day voter registration believe the practice makes it too difficult for municipal clerks to verify potential voters meet residency and legal requirements before voting, increasing the chances that fraudulent votes impact Maine elections.  Advocates for same-day voter registration claim that ending the practice will disenfranchise voters and severely impact voter turnout.

Supporters of same-day voter registration may not have much luck with this argument.  By a 55 percent to 36 percent margin, those polled believe it is more important to protect against voter fraud than it is to maximize voter turnout.

The poll also asked respondents whether they favor requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls before casting their vote, which 56 percent do, compared to just 41 percent who oppose voter ID at the polls.

“Our democracy relies on the integrity of our electoral process.  Our system must be sound, and the electorate needs to have faith in the legitimacy of our election results,” said MHPC Chief Executive Officer Lance Dutson.  “This poll shows that, while Mainers do not think fraud is a critical problem in our state, they do want safeguards to protect against it. Maine people understand that ending same-day registration helps protect the integrity of our system, and that the common-sense measure of requiring photo identification at the polls will help ensure Maine is safe from the kind of fraud and manipulation we see in other states.”

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CLICK HERE to view the top line results of the poll

CLICK HERE to view the full Cross tabs of the poll

The telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters in Maine was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research on September 7, 2011.  Pulse Opinion Research, LLC is an independent public opinion research firm using automated polling methodology and procedures licensed from Rasmussen Reports, LLC.

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For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Chris Cinquemani at chris@mainepolicy.org.

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