Arizona began allowing voters to register online in 2004. Three years later, Washington became the second state to do so.
Given the migration to the Web of so many administrative tasks, like banking, what's with the holdup in other states?
Primarily, the roadblocks are technical. There is no national voter database and, until very recently, there weren't even statewide ones.
Voter rolls were kept in county offices, each with its own computer set-up. Funding for technology upgrades at the county level was scarce, according to Edgardo Cortes of the Election Assistance Commission.
The Help America Vote Act in 2002 promised states more than $3 billion to improve elections administration and mandated the creation of state voter databases by 2004.
As of late 2007, seven states still did not have a system running, according to Electionline.org, a Pew Center project.
Cortes said other states will eventually move toward online voter registration. But for now, they're on the sidelines, concerned about online privacy and security and struggling to meet other requirements of HAVA.
There's another technical problem. In the paper age, election officials could compare voters' election-day signature with the one on their registration forms to ensure they were who they said they were. Online, there's no easy way to get that signature.
Arizona and Washington solved the problem by limiting online voter registration to folks who already have driver's licenses or other state identification cards. When someone registers to vote online, the system grabs a copy of the signature from the other database.
Washington's system now also taps corrections and social security databases to screen voter rolls for convicted felons and the deceased.
Sam Reed, Washington's secretary of state, said he believes the online option increases voter registration, especially among younger people. More than 6,500 Washingtonians registered online in the two weeks after the system's early January launch.