New Democracy Maps

Voter Registration

Voter registration is often the first step in the election process both for voters and election officials. Voter registration policies such as automatic and online registration work to determine the eligible electorate in each state, and these more modern innovations can allow more eligible voters to be registered. Some states have also put in place restrictive policies, such as purging voter rolls based on inactivity, that operate to unduly restrict the electorate before elections even begin. 

The resources on this page include explanations of the automatic registration process and its benefits, as well as discussion of other voter registration policy trends including registration deadlines, pre-registration and voter list maintenance. 

Related Resources


A Silenced Generation: How the Power of the Youth Vote Collides with Barriers to Voting

January 2024 - This report examines specific barriers that young voters face, what states can do to support young voters, and how each state’s election policies impact this important demographic.


Unfair Voter Roll Purging is Legal in Several States and Impacts One-Third of Americans

October 2023 - A new Democracy Map provides a real-time tracking tool for this harmful policy and highlights states that initiate voter removal based on inactivity in recent elections.


State of Democracy 2022: Year in Review

December 2022 - In this post, MAP looks back at which states have seen the most change in 2022 in our Democracy Tally, for better or for worse, and policy trends in voting and elections.


Five Approaches to Actually Secure U.S. Elections

September 2022 - Details five policy approaches that states should adopt to secure elections and ensure that eligible voters can cast their votes.


Automatic Voter Registration Is Good for Democracy, But How It is Done Matters

July 2022 - In a country where we have seen numerous razor-thin election margins, the impact of automatic voter registration (AVR) on registration and turnout rates has the potential to significantly impact election results.


Litigating the Right to Vote: Seven Important Court Cases to Watch in 2022

June 2022 - These seven court cases could have a profound impact in shaping voting and elections in America.


Automatic Voter Registration Best Practices in the States

June 2022 - This policy spotlight details state approaches to automatic voter registration (AVR) and examines how differences in implementation of AVR can significantly impact election security and voter turnout.


The 10 policy trends transforming voting & Elections in america

April 2022 - This report examines a number of legislative proposals across the United States that seek to make policy changes in three main areas: registration & eligibility, casting a vote, and vote counting & certification.


How the Freedom to Vote Act Would Improve Democracy in the States

January 2022 - This brief outlines some of the emerging threats to the independence and integrity of our democracy and shows the startling difference in access to voting and democracy by state.


State of Democracy: How Election Laws Differ Across the Country

November 2021 - This report provides findings and analysis on the disparities in election systems in the U.S. based on the Democracy Maps.


Video: How Automated Verification & Registration Works

February 2018 - Created by MAP and the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, this short video gives an overview of how Automated Verification & Registration makes voter registration more convenient, more secure, more accurate and more efficient.


Infographic: How Does Automated Verification & Registration Work?

February 2018 - This graphic provides an overview of the five easy steps involved in Automated Verification & Registration, which automatically updates an eligible voter’s registration when they change their address with the post office or at the DMV, making our voting rolls more accurate and voting more convenient for everyday Americans.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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