So this morning’s sessions at the public NAS workshop have focused largely on efforts in the Midwest on interstate voter registration matching. We heard from Ron Thornburgh and Mark Ritchie on what they have been doing, and more details on the Midwest efforts from Brad Bryant (election director, Kansas). Much of the discussion revolved around their “memorandum of understanding”, and the pros and cons of this approach for facilitating data sharing between states. The basic question is why agreements like these are necessary, and what they provide to states that engage in them.
One interesting long-term issue that Mark Ritchie brought up regarded the possibilities of data sharing for metropolitian areas that span state borders. The example he used was the Fargo/Moorhead area, and the question was whether in the future could residents of areas like these vote wherever it is convenient for them to vote, regardless of which side of the state border they happen to live on.
We are now hearing more of the details of how the Midwest states do their matching of voter registration records, and how that information is distributed to the participating states. And about a similar interstate voter registration data sharing project that is going on in the southeast.