New York Joins the Automatic Voter Registration Club

Who wants to hear some good news regarding voting rights?

Last week, New York became the 20th state to adopt Automatic Voter Registration! Although it will take a couple of years to go into effect, this legislation creates a system that will automatically register New Yorkers to vote when they visit a DMV or other state agency, unless they choose to opt out.

Oregon was the first to enact AVR in 2015, and every state that has adopted it has seen voter registration increase by a lot. Just in the first year after enacting AVR, Oregon saw the rate of registrations at DMVs quadruple!

As for turnout, AVR is correlated to an increase in turnout, but particularly with young voters (aged 18-22) and lower income voters. The increase was anywhere between 4-6%.

Let’s take a moment to celebrate!! Good job, New York!

States with Automatic Voter Registration prior to NY joining

If getting Automatic Voter Registration in your state is something you are passionate about, I have a couple of recommendations for you.

First, read The Case for Automatic Voter Registration. Whether you want to talk about it with friends or with your state legislator’s staff, be able to talk convincingly about the subject.

Then, I recommend you reach out to your local chapter of the League of Women Voters. One of their central missions is voter registration, and your local League will know the status of any efforts to get AVR in your state and can suggest actions you can participate in.

Getting more citizens registered to vote, and then voting, is crucial for our democracy.


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Categories: Explainers

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2 replies

  1. Nice one! For future reference, can I point you to something you might already know? In Oregon the DMV registration had ONE hiccup during the last election which I’m hoping is better. A couple years ago, people who moved, even if they submitted the change to DMV, often were delayed several months in having their info updated.

    Fortunately  NY’s got a year or two to go into effect so won’t affect this election, of course.

    At one point here in 2016 we were messaging folks that if they had moved in the last six months, they should contact their county clerk in the new place DIRECTLY to confirm they were actually registered, as the data wasn’t getting updated at the counties very quickly, and each county can handle it differently. (And how. We still use oak gall ink and crow quills in my county. I kid. Sort of.)

    I’ve not heard any issue with it this year, but at minimum, with all the voter suppression tactics in different places, it does NOT hurt at a minimum to confirm your voting status online, and if you’ve moved in the last few months in any automatic voter registration state, to call personally and fill out any forms you need to fill out to ensure you can vote.

    That all said, right on NY!

    I’m not all conspiracyist on this one. But new software and processes are always a challenge to implement. (I’m thinking now of all the coronavirus  unemployment claims that went in from stimulus on an old system designed to handle maybe 1/10th of the load.)

    And… I’ll leave you before I start snarling about Mitch refusing life saving payments during a pandemic, because that’s just planned mass murder and it really gets me going.

    Stay well… hang in there, thanks for all you do.

    Like

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