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FEC Offers A New Way To Register To Vote

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 12) -- In another twist to online politics, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is making it easier for Web surfers to register to vote.

By visiting the FEC's home page, computer users can download a voter registration form, print it, fill it out and then mail it to local election official -- if they live in one of 22 states that have agreed to accept the online form. (The form is in the .pdf file format, which requires Adobe Acrobat software to view.)

John Surina, FEC's staff director, told AllPolitics the idea for the online form began after the agency worked with states to design a common registration form for the new so-called "motor voter" law.

When the Internet "took off like a bullet," Surina said, officials realized an online form could both reduce the states' printing costs and make it easier for people to register.

With the growth of political sites of all persuasions on the World Wide Web, no one party stands to gain disproportionately from the online form, Surina said.

"It doesn't seem to have any partisan tilt, one way or the other," Surina said.

According to the FEC, the following states will accept copies of this application, once it's signed and mailed:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

It's still not possible to actually register to vote online, since states require a prospective voter to sign his or her registration affidavit.

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