MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new study reveals two Mid-South states are in the bottom three for the most difficult states in which to vote.
These results also come just two weeks ahead of the midterm election.
The four-year study looked at voting access laws, which vary significantly from state to state, and impact voter turnout.
Tennessee ranked 48th, and Mississippi ranked dead last.
The study was published online last month via the Election Law Journal.
Scot Schraufnagel, chair of the Department of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, along with his co-authors on this study, combed through years of data and state voting laws changes, creating a “Cost of Voting Index.”
“We really didn’t have any preconceived rank of any kind, we just went in and let the number sort of speak for themselves,” Schraufnagel said.
Analyzing the impact of 33 different variables from registration to voting laws, the study ranked the ease of voting in all 50 states.
Schraufnagel said their research found both Tennessee and Mississippi to have very restrictive voter policy registration.
“Neither state allows, in 2016, allowed online voter registration, which many of the states were doing,” Schraufnagel said. “Both still maintained a registration deadline. It’s become pretty common in many states to allow voters to register the day of the election.”
The ranking for Tennessee came as a drastic drop. In 1996, the Volunteer State was ranked 10th.
That fall is believed to be the result of Tennessee not keeping pace with others updating voting laws.
It’s a study that researchers hope opens the eyes of policymakers if they want to increase voter turnout.
In contrast, the easiest state to vote in that year was Oregon, where voters are registered automatically, followed by Colorado.