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.
automatic voter registration
New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday passed legislation expanding automatic voter registration in the state. The “motor bill” passed the state Assembly, 50-23, and the state Senate, 24-13. The legislation makes it so individuals will be automatically registered unless they opt out of the process. If signed as expected by Gov. Phil Murphy (D), New Jersey would be home to one of the most widespread automatic voter registration programs in the U.S.Full Article: New Jersey lawmakers pass automatic voter registration bill | TheHill.
Maryland: Bill that allows automatic voter registration becomes law without Gov. Hogan’s signature – The Washington Post
A bill that allows Maryland residents to automatically register to vote when they interact with state agencies has become law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. Maryland joins the District and 11 other states, including Oregon and California, that allow people to register while renewing a driver’s license, signing up for health coverage with the state Health Benefit Exchange or receiving help from a social service agency. “It’s a great step forward and will have tremendous impact for generations to come,” said state Sen. William Smith (D-Montgomery), the bill sponsor. “This will allow thousands of more Marylanders to participate in the democratic process.”Full Article: Maryland bill that allows automatic voter registration becomes law without Gov. Hogan’s signature - The Washington Post.
Maryland’s Democratic-controlled legislature on Wednesday approved a measure to automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they interact with certain state agencies. The bill now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) desk. Hogan has not said whether he supports the measure, and a spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the measure passed by wide enough margins that the legislature could override any potential veto. If the measure becomes law, Maryland would become the 11th state to adopt automatic voter registration. Any Marylander who interacts with the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration, health-care exchange or social services offices would be signed up to vote unless they decline.Full Article: Maryland legislature passes automatic voter registration | TheHill.
Utah: Legislature enacts widespread election law changes, including Election-Day registration | The Salt Lake Tribune
The Legislature approved sweeping changes to Utah’s elections and voter registration laws that supporters say will ensure that people like Gerardo Navarro’s vote counts in November. Navarro was at state offices in Draper recently, renewing his driver license, but didn’t notice a box that asked him if he’d like to update his voter registration. Navarro’s not alone. One in three eligible voters didn’t check the box to update his or her registration in 2016, according to county clerks who spoke in favor of registering voters automatically when they interact with the Driver License Division. “A lot of people think that because they got their driver license they were registered,” said Weber County Clerk Auditor Ricky Hatch. “A lot of voters would come in, like in 2016, and say I’m registered,” try to vote, and find out they weren’t. Not only will they be more likely to be registered under HB218, which passed on Wednesday, those who were eligible and tried to vote on Election Day but weren’t registered will be able to do so in the next election.Full Article: Do you want to register to vote? Utah enacts widespread election law changes, including Election-Day registration. Here are all the changes - The Salt Lake Tribune.
A coalition of voting rights groups is urging Massachusetts to adopt automatic voter registration. The Massachusetts proposal, which is pending in a legislative committee, would let the Registry of Motor Vehicles and MassHealth automatically register citizens to vote. A person could choose to opt out. What could that look like? Ask Jeanne Atkins. Atkins was the Oregon secretary of state from March 2015 through January 2017 – a period that coincided with the signing of Oregon’s motor voter law and the first election in which it was implemented.Full Article: Oregon blazes a path for Massachusetts on automatic voter registration | masslive.com.
Depending on how things shape up in the state House of Representatives, Washington could soon allow automatic voter registration. Senate BIll 6353, introduced by Sen. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, passed out of the Senate earlier this month on a 34-13 vote and is now awaiting review and action in the House. “Voting is a right, not a privilege,” Hunt said in a press release. “We need to make voting as easy as possible for every citizen in Washington and that starts with registration. We now have the technology to make it seamless, so why wouldn’t we? Automatic voter registration will increase the opportunity to register and vote without endangering the security of the election process.”Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration Passed Out of Senate | News | chronline.com.
Voting Blogs: Automatic Voter Registration Placed on the Nevada Ballot Following the Governor’s Veto | State of Elections
On March 21, 2017, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval vetoed the state’s effort to establish an automatic voter registration system through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. If enacted, the the DMV’s voter registration would convert to a compulsory system rather than its current volunteer-based model. After a partisan split, the Governor sided with state Republicans and blocked the bill. The Governor’s veto is not final, as the initiative will now move to a statewide vote in the 2018 election.Full Article: NV: Automatic Voter Registration Place on the Ballot Following the Governor’s Veto - State of Elections.
A proposed law supported by Democrats and Republicans would implement a streamlined voter registration process for all eligible U.S. citizen residents of Guam with the choice to opt out, was introduced yesterday by Sen. Régine Biscoe Lee. Sens. Wil Castro, Fernando Esteves, Tommy Morrison, Joe San Agustin and Mary Torres co-sponsored Bill 234-34. The measure would register eligible citizens as voters upon their registration for an ID card or driver’s license with the Motor Vehicles Division at the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The registration will happen automatically unless the registrant checks a box to opt out.Full Article: Bill combines voter registration, driver's license process | Guam News | postguam.com.
By the time the 2016 presidential election rolled around, New Mexico had one of the lowest rates of voting-age citizens registered to vote. Only two-thirds of the state’s eligible voters had signed up to cast a ballot, compared to at least 80 percent in Maine and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Perhaps unsurprisingly, New Mexico also had one of the lowest rates of election turnout among its voting-age population. One state lawmaker wants to make it easier for people to vote through an amendment to the New Mexico Constitution that would require the state to ensure every citizen who is eligible to vote is at least registered.Full Article: Lawmaker pushes automatic voter registration | NMPolitics.net.
Voting advocate Sean Jacobson has grown accustomed to hearing about the many barriers that young adults face in becoming politically engaged. As an organizer with the youth mobilization nonprofit the Washington Bus, Jacobson says that many of the students he meets during registration drives on college campuses are unsure if they’re registered to vote. Students often move from their hometowns to another jurisdiction for school and fail to update their registrations. Frequent mobility is just one challenge that prevents youth from turning out to vote. A lack of transportation and unfamiliarity with the issues can also preclude young adults from civic engagement.Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration Could Come to Washington | Seattle Weekly.
North Carolina Senate Democrats are slated to introduce a new bill Tuesday that would impact how many people might be registered to vote in time for the next election. Senate Bill 704, known as the Universal Senate Voter Registration Bill, is aimed at getting more people registered to vote. The bill proposes automatic voter registration at driver’s license offices, public agencies, community colleges and state universities. It also requires the bi-partisan state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to implement an outreach campaign informing citizens of automatic voter registration. Sen. Paul Lowe Jr. said the bill will make registration easier and in turn increase voter turnout.Full Article: State Democrats set to introduce voter registration bill | WCTI.
Illinois: Automatic voter registration law doesn’t allocate money for implementation | Illinois News Network
Automatically registering voters anytime they register with certain state government agencies was considered a major legislative priority by some at the statehouse, but lawmakers haven’t put the necessary tax dollars behind it to get it started. As it is right now, Illinois residents can opt in to registering to vote when they get or update information for a state ID card or driver’s license. Lawmakers pushed to make that automatic and to include more state agencies. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the original automatic voter registration bill in 2016 with suggested changes he said made the bill better. Lawmakers followed his lead in 2017 and passed automatic voter registration.Full Article: Automatic voter registration law doesn’t allocate money for implementation | State Politics | ilnews.org.
Editorials: Automatic Voter Registration: A Solution to Voter Suppression? | Josh Berry/Harvard Political Review
On a quiet Mississippi road, one evening in June 1964, a gang of Ku Klux Klansmen attacked three workers canvassing with the Congress of Racial Equality. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, all under 25, had volunteered their summers to register African Americans throughout Mississippi to vote after decades of suppression by Jim Crow laws. The next morning, police discovered their burned-out car in a ditch; the three young civil rights advocates were reported missing. Five weeks later, their mutilated bodies were discovered 15 feet underground on a nearby farm.Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration: A Solution to Voter Suppression? | Harvard Political Review.
Voting Blogs: Alaska Joins Growing Number of States with Automatic Voter Registration | State of Elections
Alaska’s automatic voter registration law went into effect March 1, 2017, making Alaska one of ten states, the fourth state to do so in this year, to enact such legislation. The new bill was introduced through Ballot Measure 1 (15PFVR), which passed in the November 8, 2016 referendum with more than 63% of support from Alaskan voters. The bill also received bipartisan support from Republican leaders Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux as well as Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and former Sen. Mark Begich. Unlike most automatic voter registration states, Alaska does not use DMV records but registers eligible individuals to vote when they sign up for the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). The Permanent Fund was created in 1976 to protect the proceeds of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline by putting at least 25% of the oil money into a dedicated fund. Money from the fund is distributed to eligible Alaskan residents in the form of dividends.Full Article: Alaska Joins Growing Number of States with Automatic Voter Registration - State of Elections.
Massachusetts: In wake of dismal voter turnout, legislators consider automatic registration | The Daily Free Press
In the days following the Massachusetts municipal elections, near record-breaking lows in voter turnout statistics have revamped the push for automatic voter registration in the Commonwealth, as outlined in two bills currently on the Senate and House floors. The percentage of registered voters who cast their votes in the Boston municipal elections experienced a decline, with nearly 42 percent casting their votes in 2014 to only 28 percent in 2017, The Daily Free Press reported. Catherine Anderson, legislative director for the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Cynthia Creem, said these figures alerted state and local officials of the need for new solutions to improve voter turnout and brought attention to the prospect of an automatic voter registration system.Full Article: In wake of dismal voter turnout, legislators consider automatic registration.
The lackluster turnout in some municipal elections this week has energized advocates hoping to make it easier for people to register to vote. The activists want state lawmakers to adopt something known as automatic voter registration — a system that automatically updates voters’ information whenever they alert one of several state agencies of a change of address or other pertinent change in their status. The agencies include the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Revenue, MassHealth, the Department of Higher Education, and all public institutions of higher education. The bill would also let voters waive those updates if they want. Among the groups backing the change is the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.Full Article: Advocates push automatic voter registration in Massachusetts | The Herald.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation to automatically register voters, a news release from her office stated Wednesday. The Register America to Vote Act would ensure every state develops and implements a secure process to automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they turn 18. Minnesota is among the 32 states where automatic voter registration bill have been introduced. Last year, Minnesotans turned out to vote at the highest rate of any state in the country with 81 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. Klobuchar is the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections.Full Article: Klobuchar introduces automatic voter registration bill | Brainerd Dispatch.
National: Voting Technology Needs an Upgrade: Here’s What Congress Can Do | Union of Concerned Scientists
Voting systems throughout the United States are vulnerable to corruption in a variety of ways, and the federal government has an obligation to protect the integrity of the electoral process. At a recent meeting of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Voting, the Department of Homeland Security’s Robert Kolasky put it bluntly: “It’s not a fair fight to pit Orange County (California) against the Russians.” While the intelligence community has not confirmed that the hackers working on behalf of the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election were successful at tampering with actual vote tallies, they certainly succeeded at shaking our confidence in the electoral process, which over time could undermine faith in democracy. The management of statewide eligible voter lists is a particularly challenging but crucial responsibility. On the one hand, data entry errors, duplicate records and “live” records for deceased voters invite voter fraud and inaccuracies in voting data. On the other hand, overly broad purging of voter lists can result in the exclusion of eligible voters from the rolls.Full Article: Voting Technology Needs an Upgrade: Here’s What Congress Can Do - Union of Concerned Scientists.
Activists in Clark County and across the state are preparing for a new push to enact automatic voter registration in Washington either in the upcoming legislative session or through a ballot initiative next year. If adopted, the state would automatically register voters who prove their eligibility when they interface with government offices, such as getting an enhanced driver’s license. Proponents say it not only increases voter turnout and engagement but also streamlines the process. “The idea, from our perspective, is to make voting as easy as possible,” said Alice Perry Linker, a volunteer with an informal group of that’s supporting the effort. “It’s a right that all citizens have and we want to make it easy for them.”Full Article: New push coming for automatic voter registration | The Columbian.