Voter registration declines in uncompetitive states?

We’ve seen a lot of reporting in the media — some of which I’ve blogged about here recently — about surges in voter registrations, especially in the battleground states.

A study was recently released, authored by Lawrence Jacobs and Melanie Burns of the University of Minnesota, “The Unregistered: Voter Registration Declines in Many States, that argues that these reports have missed “… the large number of states that have seen their voter rolls decline or stagnate since 2004. The surge of registration has been highly concentrated in the states that the presidential campaigns have most intensely targeted.”

Their study argues that in thirteen of the thirty-nine states (and DC) that have not been targeted as battleground states have seen their level of voter registration stagnate or decline between 2004 and 2008. And on the flip side of the coin, they argue that in fourteen of the fifteen hotly contested states, voter registrations increased after 2004. Finally, they find that Democrats have outpaced Republicans in registration gains in the competitive states: “More Democrats than Republicans have been registered in 8 of the 9 most contested states for which there are data.”

An interesting study …