Advocates of automatic voter registration won two legislative battles in Oregon and California this year, and lost another in New Jersey when GOP Governor Chris Christie vetoed automatic registration legislation last month. Now the question is whether 18 states mulling a variety of automatic voter registration bills will approve or reject those proposals. The bills would in one form or another allow government agencies to transfer voter eligibility information to state election officials, who would confirm and register eligible voters, excluding any who chose to remain off the rolls. The push for automatic registration comes at a time when voting rights advocates are contending with state-based initiatives around the country that erect a variety of barriers to the polls. These include voting restrictions in North Carolina that have become the subject of a federal challenge.
It’s also the first presidential election since the Supreme Court in 2013 reversed key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Congressional Democrats have proposed legislation that would reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and restore voter protections, but it has languished on Capitol Hill.
As an antidote to state-based initiatives that make it harder for voters to cast ballots, automatic voter registration holds out the promise of expanding the electorate. Proponents of automatic registration, who include Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, say it saves money, reduces administrative hassles, and improves the accuracy of the voter rolls.
Full Article: More Than a Dozen States Eye Automatic Voter Registration.