What is Automatic Voter Registration?
Automatic Voter Registration will make voting easier and increase turnout by eliminating the burden on individual voters to find out when, where, and how to register to vote for each election.
With Automatic Voter Registration, every eligible voter will be automatically registered when they get a driver’s license. Eligible citizens who already have driver's licenses will also be automatically registered to vote without having to do anything else, and will be notified by mail. If a person does not want to register to vote, he or she can ‘opt-out.’ This is different than "motor-voter" laws, which put the burden on voters to opt-into registration.
Why Automatic Voter Registration?
According to the Pew Center on States, as of 2012, approximately 51 million eligible Americans are not registered to vote. This number represents a disproportionate share of low-income voters, people of color, and younger Americans. 30 percent of eligible African Americans, 40 percent of Hispanics, 45 percent of Asian Americans, and 41 percent of young adults (ages 18-24), were not registered to vote in 2008.
An Oxford Journal study of Google search terms for registration after registration deadlines had passed, found that between three and four million eligible Americans would have voted, but were too late to register.
In short, putting the burden on individuals to find out when, where and how to register for each election is leaving a lot of our democracy at home. By making registration automatic and universal, we have the potential to bring new – disproportionately minority and young – voting power to bear in our elections.
And momentum is growing to tap into this power.
If passed, Automatic Voter Registration could add millions of voters to the rolls, increase turnout and strengthen participation. In 2015, Oregon and California enacted Automatic Voter Registration, and as a result, it is estimated that 7 million eligible voters will be added to the voter rolls between the two states. So far in 2016, West Virginia, Connecticut and Vermont have enacted Automatic Voter Registration. We need your help to ensure other states give Automatic Voter Registration consideration as well.