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Aug 30 / Erin Ferns Lee

States Designate New Voter Registration Agencies

Voter Reg Form
Millions of Americans in five states will have the opportunity to register to vote when applying for health insurance through the new health exchanges come October 1.

California was the first state to designate its health exchange as a voter registration agency earlier this summer and it is expected to reach millions of low- and moderate-income families who are seeking to buy health insurance policies.

“This is about making sure that all eligible Californians are offered the chance to register to vote,” said Shannon Velayas, spokesperson for California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

New York and Vermont followed suit. “Voting is a fundamental right, and as the chief elections officer in the state of Vermont, one of my top priorities is to promote the registration of all eligible voters,” said Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos in July.

Officials from Connecticut and most recently, Maryland have also stated plans to designate health benefit exchanges as voter registration agencies.

“Motor Voter” law or the National Voter Registration Act was enacted in 1993 to increase the number of registered voters in federal elections by making voter registration accessible to people who interact with government agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, public assistance offices, and agencies that offer services to people with disabilities. Since its enactment, more than 140 million people have registered to vote at government agencies.

Now, more citizens in California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Vermont will have the opportunity to register to vote. Going forward, we hope other states will follow their lead, follow the law, and offer citizens a meaningful opportunity to register to vote.

Photo by Newbirth35/Creative Commons License

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