Jump-Starting “Motor Voter”
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) became known as the “motor voter” law because Section 5 of the law designated motor vehicle offices as voter registration sites. For 20 years Americans have enjoyed the convenience of registering to vote, or updating their registrations, while conducting other business at the DMV.
The NVRA requires that DMVs take specific steps that will make registration extremely convenient for their customers, so that as many eligible Americans as possible will participate in elections. Yet many states DMVs don’t follow these rules. Often through omission rather than articulated policy, they relegate voter registration to a bottom-rung priority, for example, by failing to integrate it into new processes that become available due to technology. One result is that customers conducting online DMV transactions often miss out on the voter registration opportunities that the NVRA mandates they be given.
In short, “motor “voter” is stalling out in many states, and threatening to leave millions of Americans behind.
Project Vote is working with allies to enforce the “motor voter” law across the country, and ensure that states adapt this core voter registration portal to new technologies that have the potential to vastly expand the electorate.
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New Mexico has settled a lawsuit filed by advocacy groups last year over compliance with a law that lets people register to vote at various state agencies, including the Motor Vehicle Division when they get a driver's license. Read more
Tens of thousands of New Mexico residents who visit state motor vehicle offices will be able to register to vote or update their voter registration information, thanks to a settlement agreement reached last week in a lawsuit to bring the state’s Motor Vehicle Division into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993. Read more
This policy brief documents various problems with voter registration and outlines pragmatic solutions states can adopt to make registering to vote simple, efficient and transparent. Read more
Today Project Vote is proud to release The NVRA at Fifteen: A Report to Congress, the first comprehensive report evaluating the implementation of this landmark law. Read more
In July 2009, Project Vote and its partners filed suit against officials in New Mexico for violations of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) Read more
Citing clear evidence that New Mexico public assistance agencies and motor vehicle offices have violated their federally mandated responsibility to offer tens of thousands of New Mexicans each year the opportunity to register to vote, a coalition of voting rights groups filed suit today against officials in New Mexico for violations of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). Read more
This analysis of litigation under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 covers key issues including: (1) the constitutionality of the NVRA; (2) public agency registration under Section 7; (3) voter list maintenance under Section 8; (4) designation of certain offices as mandatory agencies under Section 7; (5) voter registration process; and (6) restrictions on third-party registration. Read more
A 2009 review of academic literature on the effectiveness of the National Voter Registration Act. Read more
On Thursday, May 21, Minnesota’s Republican governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed the 21st Century Voter Registration Law (HF1053/SF 0660), which would have expanded the popular “motor voter” law to provide automatic voter registration for any eligible Minnesotans who apply for or renew their driver’s licenses, instruction permits, or identification cards. Read more