Government Agency Registration

Who Should Register Americans to Vote? Their Government

When the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) was passed in 1993, it was heralded as a watershed in voting rights law. It was popularly known as the “motor voter” law, because—in addition to other important provisions—the NVRA requires voter registration services to be provided through venues where citizens regularly interact with their government: motor vehicle offices, public assistance agencies, and other government outlets.

This expansion of voter registration opportunities was expected to usher in a new era of universal, or nearly universal, enfranchisement and political participation. And indeed, in the first two years of implementation, the NVRA contributed to one of the largest expansions of the voter rolls in American history.

In the 20 years since the law went into effect, however, it has become all too common for states to neglect or ignore the requirements of the NVRA. This means that millions of Americans—particularly low-income, minority, and disabled citizens who are already underrepresented in the electorate—have been illegally denied their federally-mandated opportunity to register to vote.

Project Vote and our partners—including Demos, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and other civil rights organizations—work to rectify this problem. Through advocacy, technical assistance, and—where necessary—litigation, we are ensuring that state agencies fulfill their responsibilities and help realize the full promise of the NVRA.


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Civil Rights Groups Threaten to Sue New York Over Voting Rights Violations

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Asian-American and Latino civil rights groups are among those threatening to sue New York state over allegations that its Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) failed to send voter registration applications it received to local election boards. Read more

Groups say state highway safety agency violates voters’ rights

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Project Vote and partners put the state of Florida on notice for alleged violations of the federal "motor voter" law. Read more

New forms make it easier to register to vote in Montana

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The Montana Vehicle Division has revamped many of its forms to help make it easier to register to vote, amid pressure from voter rights groups who said the state was not doing enough to comply with the national Motor Voter law. Read more

Nevada Officials Settle Voting-Rights Squabble

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Nevada agreed to improve its efforts to abide by the National Voter Registration Act NVRA to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Project Vote and our partners. Read more

Nevada settles US lawsuit on behalf of low-income voters

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The state of Nevada has agreed to new training and reporting requirements to settle a federal lawsuit accusing its public assistance offices of failing to do enough to help low-income clients register to vote. Read more

Nevada settles lawsuit over registering low-income voters

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Voting rights advocates and the state of Nevada settled a lawsuit today over the state’s implementation of a federal law aimed at registering low-income voters. Read more

Nevada officials settle lawsuit with voting rights advocates

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Nevada officials have settled a lawsuit with voting rights advocates over making voter registration materials available to low-income and disabled clients. Read more

Voting rights advocates: DMV is breaking the law by failing to register voters

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Voting rights advocates claim the state is violating a federal law enacted more than 20 years ago requiring the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to register voters. Read more

Voting rights group threatens Nevada with possible DMV lawsuit

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Voting rights advocates said Monday they have sent a pre-litigation notice letter to Nevada officials, warning that the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles is failing to meet its federally mandated voter registration obligations. Read more

Groups claim bumps in road for ‘motor voter’ law

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Catherine M. Flanagan, senior election counsel with Project Vote, said, “We’re finding that the process is not working the way required under the act. People who try to register to vote when they conduct a driver’s license transaction are not being able to to register to vote.” Read more