Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Jeremy Bearer-Friend (George Washington) & Vanessa Williamson (Brookings Institution), Tax-Time Voter Registration, 168 Tax Notes Fed. 1013 (Aug. 10, 2020):
In this article, we examine the rationale for voter registration at the time of return filing, lay out a strategy for a new “Schedule VR,” and consider some potential implementation challenges. We conclude that various options are available for expanding voter registration through tax return filing, either at the federal or state level. Those committed to ensuring broad access to voting in the United States should consider these tax-time voter registration options.
The annual process of tax return filing is a ripe opportunity to expand access to full citizenship. Individuals who are already engaging with government through the filing of federal or state tax forms should have the option of using those forms to register to vote. The forms could ask for all necessary information and refer that data to relevant voter registration entities, or the forms could simply ask filers if they would like to be contacted by the relevant voter registration agencies so that additional sensitive voter registration data isn’t submitted to revenue agents. With many options for implementation, tax-time voter registration is a valuable tool to ensure that all citizens enjoy the right to vote.