Dot-com provides voter registration services

The same dot-com company that conducted the first binding U.S. government Internet vote is now allowing citizens to register to vote online, although the final transaction must be mailed.

Eligible citizens can log onto election.com, choose their home state and fill out forms for domestic voter registration, absentee ballots for U.S. citizens overseas and domestic absentee ballots. The forms can then be printed out — or mailed to the individual — and then signed and forwarded to the local election officials.

Because voter registration rules vary from state to state, some restrictions apply. For example, preregistration is unnecessary in four states and registration forms for absentee ballots in two states are unavailable because the rules vary from county to county.

Election.com's vice president, Mark Strama, said the company hopes to reach the large number of Americans that do not vote each year. Voter turnout in the 1996 presidential election was 50 percent.

"This makes it easier to participate in the democratic process," Strama said. When he worked for MTV's Rock The Vote campaign in 1996, Strama said he learned that in politics, "you don't get people to come to politics, you bring politics to where they are." In this case, they're online, he said.

The voter registration service is also being made available to other sites, such as Rock the Vote, MilitaryHub.com and MilitaryMoves.com.

Two voting sites, votation.com and newvoter.com, joined to form election.com before the March Arizona Democratic primary, which was the first binding Internet vote.

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