Close Menu

Facilitative Election Laws

Practices like automatic and online voter registration, as well as pre-registration for young people before they turn 18, can improve youth voter participation.

The CIRCLE Youth Voting and Civic Engagement in America data tool includes a Facilitative Election Law score for each state. Research has shown that, just as some restrictive laws like ID requirements can negatively impact political engagement, facilitative election laws—especially related to voter registration—can have a positive effect.

Our tool's Facilitative Election Laws index is a composite score that measures five such electoral policies based on a scan of laws in place for the 2022 midterm election. We assigned a score of 0-2 for each law. Read more about each policy and the scores below:

Automatic Voter Registration (AVR)

Automatic voter registration, through which citizens are automatically placed on the voter rolls when they interact with a government agency like the department of motor vehicles, is one of the most powerful tools to promote voter registration.

  • 0 - No AVR
  • 1 - AVR only available at the DMV
  • 2 - AVR available at multiple state agencies


Pre-registration can help young people start thinking about themselves as voters before they turn 18, developing an identity that can lead to lifelong political engagement. It provides a natural opportunity to foster conversations about elections in high school classrooms. Crucially, youth can also avoid the time crunch of having to meet registration deadlines close to an election at age 18, a time when they may be busy with a transition from high school to college or to the workplace that may involve moving to a new city or state. Most states allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the next general election to pre-register; our score considers more expansive pre-registration

  • 0 - No pre-registration
  • 1 - All 17-year-olds can pre-register
  • 2 - All 16-year-olds can pre-register

Online Voter Registration (OVR)

Online voter registration is now widely available and remains an important tool. For many young people, who are used to being able to conduct all sorts of business on a computer or mobile device, it is an especially attractive option.

  • 0 - No OVR
  • 1 - Process can be started online but must be completed offline (e.g., by mailing in a form)
  • 2 - Fully online voter registration; no paper forms needed

Same-Day Registration (SDR)

Same-day or Election-Day registration allows citizens to register—or update their registration—on Election Day when they go cast a ballot. There is strong evidence that SDR increases voter turnout, and may do so even more among young people that face additional barriers to voter registration.

  • 0 - No SDR
  • 1 - Limited SDR: either during early voting or on Election Day, but not both
  • 2 - SDR during the full early voting period and on Election Day

Voter ID Laws

Electoral policies requiring individuals to show some for of Identification when they vote are one of the most common laws that may restrict electoral participation. These laws are often complex and there is a lot of variation, from state to state, in terms of what types of ID is accepted and whether individuals can cast a provisional ballot without some form of identification.

  • 0 - "Strict" ID requirement
  • 1 - Identification requested, but options for voting without ID/returning with ID later provided
  • 2 - No ID requirement