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National Voting Rights Act (NVRA) Compliance

Low-Income Voters Added to the Voting Rolls through Improved NVRA Implementation

Perhaps the most impressive recent success story in expanding political participation has been the dramatic turnaround in public agency voter registrations in some states.  With the prodding of Demos, Project Vote, and others under the umbrella of the NVRA Project, several states have reinvigorated compliance with this federal law that requires that certain state agencies offer voter registration to the individuals they serve.  The most well known agencies are motor vehicle departments, but public assistance agencies are also included and it is they that can have the greatest impact on bringing low-income and marginalized citizens into the political process.

Path Breaking Voter Registration Modernization Bill is Vetoed by Minnesota Governor Pawlenty

Minnesota legislators passed a landmark voter registration modernization bill recently that would, absent a veto, have registered or updated the registration of voters automatically when they applied for a driver's license, learner's permit or ID card.  It would also use information in motor vehicle and corrections databases to verify and maintain voter rolls.  This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve Simon and Sen. John Marty, would have made Minnesota the first state in the nation to proactively register voters, and made it among the most advanced in maintaining clean, accurate voter rolls.  The bill was designed to build on the state's already first-in-the-nation portability bill, which requires automatic updates to voter registrations based on changes of address.

However, Governor Pawlenty vetoed this historic legislation last week...