Though the exact policy varies from one place to another, 122 of the 226 countries and territories in the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network have some form of compulsory voter registration. In Argentina, Chile, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands and elsewhere, such registration is automatic, based on government records such as census counts. In other cases, qualified residents are required to register themselves. Failing to register is punishable by a fine in some places, including New Zealand, Tonga and the United Kingdom.
Another 90 countries and territories have no laws requiring all qualified residents to register to vote, though registration may be required in order to vote. In India – the world’s largest democracy – and Mongolia, voter rolls are compiled automatically through census data collection, though registration is not compulsory. In Austria, voter registration and voting itself were compulsory in at least one province until 2004; today, there is no requirement to register or to vote in Austrian elections. There is no compulsory voter registration in the U.S., though registration is necessary in order to vote in nearly all states and U.S. territories (North Dakota does not have voter registration)