Automatic voter registration (AVR) is generating considerable enthusiasm on the part of voting rights advocates and policymakers. This process has the potential to significantly increase voter registration rates in America, which is nearly unique among Western democracies in putting the onus of registration on the individual.
The momentum to develop automatic voter registration comes more than 20 years after the passage of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), a previous initiative to reduce the barriers to registration. The NVRA governs elements of voter registration in the U.S., and requires, among other provisions, that certain government agencies—including motor vehicle agencies, public assistance agencies, and disability services offices—provide voter registration services. Because the NVRA is federal law, state-based automatic voter registration programs may co-exist alongside existing NVRA procedures but cannot replace them.
Project Vote is very excited about the promise of automatic registration and the concurrent willingness of state legislatures to take up this issue. Our resources are designed to help states implement AVR effectively, in compliance with existing federal law.
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Today, senior congressional lawmakers introduced the Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2016, a transformative bill that would add up to 50 million new voters by automatically registering eligible citizens to vote. Read more