automatic voter registration

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California: Election officials said DMV wasn’t ready to launch Motor Voter. California went ahead anyway | The Sacramento Bee

As California prepared to launch its new Motor Voter program last year, top elections officials say they asked Secretary of State Alex Padilla to hold off on the roll-out. The plan called for the Department of Motor Vehicles to automatically register people who came into its offices, one of several efforts by Democrats controlling California politics to make it easier for more people to vote. With the June 2018 primary approaching, election officials said they warned that the department that manages car registration and boat licenses was not yet prepared to register voters. “There wasn’t the appropriate readiness to go forward in April, and that was brought to the Secretary of State,” said Dean Logan, registrar for Los Angeles County, adding that he “definitely expressed concern” to the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as Padilla himself.

Full Article: CA elections officials warned against Motor Voter launch | The Sacramento Bee.

Minnesota: House panel advances automatic voter registration bill | MPR

Legislation creating what supporters call an automatic voter registration process in Minnesota passed its first test Wednesday in the House. The House subcommittee on elections advanced the measure on voice vote, sending it to the government operations committee. Under the bill, applicants for a state driver’s license, identification or learner’s permit would be put into the voter registration system unless they opted out. Current law allows people to opt in to voter registration during those transactions. Rep. Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth, said her bill would make voting more efficient.

Full Article: House panel advances automatic voter registration bill | Capitol View | Minnesota Public Radio News.

New Mexico: Democrats push several election proposals | Albuquerque Journal

A package of election proposals in the state House would allow felons to keep their voting rights while in prison and aim to make voter registration for the general public more convenient, or even automatic. And one bill has the potential to change how New Mexico participates in presidential elections. The proposals, all sponsored by Democrats, are starting to move through the House. The presidential proposal cleared its first committee Wednesday on a party-line vote, with Democrats in the majority. It would sign New Mexico on to a compact pledging the state’s electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote. The goal would be to diminish the influence of the winner-take-all system that dominates the Electoral College, in which candidates tend to focus on a dozen or so battleground states that could be won by either party.

Full Article: Democrats push several election proposals » Albuquerque Journal.

National: House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls | Roll Call

Automatic voter registration, independent redistricting commissions, super PAC restrictions, forced release of presidential tax returns — these are just a handful of the provisions in a massive government overhaul package House Democrats will formally unveil Friday, according to a summary of the legislation obtained by Roll Call.  The package is being introduced as H.R. 1 to show that it’s the top priority of the new Democratic majority. Committees with jurisdiction over the measures will hold markups on the legislation before the package is brought to the floor sometime later this month or early in February.  H.R. 1 features a hodgepodge of policies Democrats have long promoted as solutions for protecting voters’ rights and expanding access to the polls, reducing the role of so-called dark money in politics, and strengthening federal ethics laws. 

Full Article: House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls.

Illinois: Nearly 187,00 register to vote through new registration system | Bloomington Pantagraph

Nearly 187,000 people were registered to vote since July 1 through the state’s automatic voter registration system, the state Board of Elections said in a recent report to the Illinois General Assembly. Despite that, a group of voting rights advocates said Secretary of State Jesse White has been slow in implementing the law and that it is violating both state and federal voter registration laws. … “Automatic voter registration is up and running and it’s going very well,” said White spokesman Henry Haupt. Not so, says Just Democracy, a coalition of organizations that advocate for voting rights, including Common Cause, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and CHANGE Illinois.

Full Article: Nearly 187,00 register to vote through new registration system | State and Regional | pantagraph.com.

National: Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home | NPR

Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in January with big items topping their legislative to-do list: Remove obstacles to voting, close loopholes in government ethics law and reduce the influence of political money. Party leaders say the first legislative vote in the House will come on H.R. 1, a magnum opus of provisions that Democrats believe will strengthen U.S. democratic institutions and traditions. “It’s three very basic things that I think the public wants to see,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), who spearheads campaign finance and government ethics efforts for the House Democratic Caucus. He said H.R. 1 will “demonstrate that we hear that message loud and clear.” But even Sarbanes admits the quick vote is just a first step. Republicans, who control the Senate, are unlikely to pass the bill and President Trump is unlikely to sign it. “Give us the gavel in the Senate in 2020 and we’ll pass it in the Senate,” Sarbanes said. “Give us a pen in the Oval Office and we’ll sign those kinds of reforms into law.”

Full Article: Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home - capradio.org.

National: Three States Pass Sweeping Voting Rights Expansions | Roll Call

Voting rights activists are celebrating after voters in three states approved sweeping election reforms in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Voters in Florida, Michigan and Nevada all passed major reforms to their states’ election systems, which will make voting easier and extend ballot access to millions of new voters. Florida’s Amendment 4, approved by 64 percent of voters, will restore voting rights to more than 1 million residents convicted of certain felonies. About 10 percent of Florida adults will be newly eligible to vote, of which a disproportionate number are African-Americans. Meanwhile, Nevada and Michigan both passed automatic voter registration measures Tuesday, meaning residents in future elections will be added to voting rolls when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or conduct other business with the state, unless they opt out. 

Full Article: Three States Pass Sweeping Voting Rights Expansions.

Malaysia: Proposal to lower voting age, automatic voter registration agreed to in principal by political parties | New Straits Times

The proposal to lower voting age from 21 years to 18 and automatic voter registration were principally agreed by political parties from both divides today. The Election Commission (EC) chairman, Azhar Azizan Harun said 32 parties out 52 registered political parties in the country, had unanimously agreed to both proposals. The EC had earlier called the 32 political parties today for a closed-door meeting to discuss issues pertaining to voter registration. “There was no objection to the voting age limit from the political parties. “However there were several suggestions for the need for more data such as address and telephone numbers for the automatic registration,” he told reporters after the meeting at the EC headquarters here today.

Full Article: Proposal to lower voting age, automatic voter registration agreed to in principal by political parties | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News.

Ohio: Groups seek expanded voting opportunities | The Toledo Blade

With Ohio facing a rare general election these days without major litigation hanging over the ballot process, voting rights groups on Wednesday staked out their hopes for future changes to make voting easier. The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, consisting of groups like the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the new All Voting is Local, called for automatic voter registration for those eligible to vote, expanded early voting hours and days, and improvements in online voter registration. “When a quarter of those who are eligible are not registered and we have even worse turnout rates, we understand that the system is clearly not working,” League Executive Director Jen Miller said. While none of these proposed changes could happen in time to affect the Nov. 6 election, these discussions have been incorporated into the debate over who will succeed Secretary of State Jon Husted. The next secretary of state will be either state Sen. Frank LaRose (R., Hudson) or state Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent).

Full Article: Groups seek expanded voting opportunities - The Blade.

Illinois: Fellow Democrats rap Jesse White for automatic voter registration holdup | Chicago Sun-Times

Three Democratic state representatives joined voting rights advocates Monday to criticize Secretary of State Jesse White for failing to implement automatic voter registration in time for the November election — but the critics and White disagreed on whether the matter will wind up in court. Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, and Rep. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, led the news conference at the Thompson Center criticizing White, who is currently seeking his sixth term. White’s rollout of the program was initially planned for July, and would have been complete ahead of November’s general election. But after delays, it is now expected to be in place by mid-year 2019, according to White’s office.

Full Article: Fellow Democrats rap Jesse White for automatic voter registration holdup | Chicago Sun-Times.

Massachusetts: State works to start automatic voter signup | Lowell Sun

Local city and town clerks are looking for guidance as the state develops methods and regulations to automatically register eligible voters in time for the 2020 presidential elections. “I think it’s going to unfold as we get closer,” said Fitchburg City Clerk Anna Farrell. “We want everything to be clear as we move forward.” Gov. Charlie Baker signed the law to enact automatic voter registration earlier in the month. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, MassHealth, and the Health Connector will be the agencies that automatically register residents who meet the qualifications to vote. There is an option to opt out.

Full Article: State works to start automatic voter signup - Lowell Sun Online.

Massachusetts: State works to implement new automatic voter registration law | Sentinel & Enterprise

Local city and town clerks are looking for guidance as the state develops methods and regulations to automatically register eligible voters in time for the 2020 presidential elections. “I think it’s going to unfold as we get closer,” said Fitchburg City Clerk Anna Farrell. “We want everything to be clear as we move forward.” Gov. Charlie Baker signed the law to enact automatic voter registration earlier in the month. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, MassHealth, and the Health Connector will be the agencies that automatically register residents who meet the qualifications to vote. There is an option to opt out. Automatic registration is expected to be in place before the next presidential primary, said Debra O’Malley, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Bill Galvin, whose office oversees voting and elections.

Full Article: State works to implement new automatic voter registration law - Sentinel & Enterprise.

Massachusetts: Automatic Voter Registration In Massachusetts To Begin By 2020, Galvin Says | WBUR

Massachusetts on Thursday became the 14th state in the country to adopt an automatic voter registration system, according to Secretary of State William Galvin and advocates who backed the measure. Galvin announced that Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that would automatically register eligible voters when they interact with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and MassHealth, unless they opt out. Galvin said he was “excited to begin preparations today” and expected to have the necessary systems in place on Jan. 1, 2020, “just in time for the next Presidential Primaries.”

Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration In Mass. To Begin By 2020, Galvin Says | WBUR News.

Massachusetts: Legislature sends automatic voter registration bill to Governor’s desk | MassLive

The Legislature on Monday sent to Gov. Charlie Baker a bill that would institute automatic voter registration in Massachusetts. Under the bill, an eligible voter who applies for a license or identification card at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or completes a transaction at MassHealth or the Health Connector would be automatically registered to vote.  “We think it is one of the strongest automatic voter registration bills in the country,” said Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “If signed by the governor, it will make voting more accurate, secure and participatory.”

Full Article: Legislature sends automatic voter registration bill to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk | masslive.com.

Massachusetts: Automatic Voter Registration Approved by Massachusetts Legislature | Stateline

Both chambers of the Massachusetts Legislature have passed a bill that would automatically register voters when they interact with a state office. Those who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, will be automatically registered to vote and later sent a letter allowing them to choose a political party or opt out of the registration. For voters who are already registered, their information will be automatically updated if they change their address with another state office.

Editorials: Ohio should adopt Automated Voter Registration Verification | Tray Grayson/Cincinnati Inquirer

The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld Ohio’s law that allows for the removal of individuals from the voter registration rolls who have not voted for six years and who fail to respond to a mail notification confirming their address has not changed. This law has been used in Ohio by both Democratic and Republican secretaries of state since its enactment in 1993. It is similar to a procedure I followed as Kentucky’s secretary of state that was developed by my Democratic predecessor. However, at the core of this issue is the administrative struggle our nation’s election officials have faced for the last several years: keeping pace with a mobile American society. When we move, we rarely inform our local election officials, leaving millions of out-of-date voter records on file across the nation. Having accurate and secure voter registration rolls is essential to providing a smooth voting process, and it was a priority of mine while in office. Ohio now has an opportunity to further enhance its verification of voter rolls.

Full Article: Opinion: Ohio should adopt Automated Voter Registration Verification.

Massachusetts: Coalition pushes for passage of automatic voter registration bill | Gloucester Times

Worried that an issue that has majority support in both legislative chambers could be left on the cutting room floor when formal sessions end, a coalition of 42 organizations has asked House Speaker Robert DeLeo to move an automatic voter registration bill to the floor. Common Cause Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, ACLU Massachusetts, MassPIRG and others pressed DeLeo in a letter to advance a bill that would automatically register eligible voters when they interact with a state agency such as the Registry of Motor Vehicles or MassHealth, unless they choose to opt out.

Full Article: Coalition pushes for passage of automatic voter registration bill | Local News | gloucestertimes.com.

Guam: Automatic voter registration discussed | The Guam Daily

Additional costs and other factors such as the implementation of the Real ID requirement in June could affect the implementation of the automatic voter registration process proposed in Bill 234-34. The concerns were expressed by Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan, who testified during Wednesday’s public hearing on the legislation. Bill 234 proposes to implement automatic voter registration for eligible U.S. citizen residents of Guam.

Full Article: Automatic voter registration discussed | Guam News | postguam.com.

Illinois: Officials outline ‘Automatic’ voter registration | Shelbyville Daily Union

The State Board of Elections recently held a public hearing at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston to give the public a chance to learn more about the upcoming implementation of Illinois’ automatic voter registration, set to begin in July. But in many ways, voters won’t be “automatically” registered to vote unless they seek a new federally compliant ID starting next January. The new system will phase in starting July 1. At that time, anyone who goes to their local Department of Motor Vehicles, whether to change a title or get a new driver’s license, will be able to opt in to register to vote or update their voting information electronically.

Full Article: Officials outline 'Automatic' voter registration | Local News | shelbyvilledailyunion.com.

New Jersey: State Adopts Automatic Voter Registration | Bloomberg

Democratic Governor Phil Murphy made New Jersey the latest U.S. state with automatic voter registration at motor-vehicle agencies as mid-term elections loom in November. The legislation was sponsored by Democrats and backed by civic groups that said it would ease a paperwork burden and increase election participation. Republicans in New Jersey, like some elsewhere in the country, said it was a gateway to fraud, with the potential to allow undocumented immigrants to vote. New Jersey’s bill passed both legislative houses along party lines on April 13. Murphy’s predecessor, Republican Chris Christie, vetoed versions in 2016 and 2015, saying the Democratic-led legislature was attempting to increase voter rolls in its favor.

Full Article: New Jersey Adopts Automatic Voter Registration - Bloomberg.