Alabama reached a settlement Friday with the Department of Justice and agreed to make changes to comply with the two-decade-old “motor voter” law designed to make it easier for people to register to vote. The settlement agreement comes after the Justice Department said in September that it as planning to sue Alabama after an investigation found that Alabama was not abiding by the requirements of the 1993 law. “Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. “We commend the state of Alabama for working quickly and cooperatively with the department to ensure that eligible Alabama citizens can register to vote and update their registration information through motor vehicle agencies, with the convenience they deserve and the ease of access the law requires.”
A section of National Voter Registration Act of 1993, commonly called the “motor voter” act, requires that citizens be offered the opportunity to register to vote during license transactions. Alabama agreed to make changes so that people can register to vote when they obtain or renew a license, either in person or online, and to make sure license address changes are used to update registration files.
The state will first implement a paper system. Clerks will ask people during transactions if they wish to register to vote and provide the necessary forms if they do. The state will deliver the completed forms every week to the registrars. Within seven months, the state will establish an electronic voter registration system to integrate with license transactions.