Legislation Will Improve Voter Registration Accuracy and Enhance Access at the Ballot Box

WASHINGTON – The League of Women Voters is proud to support the “Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2017” introduced today by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Robert Brady (D-PA). Under this legislation, when eligible voters interact with a government agency, they will automatically be signed up to vote unless they decline.  It also provides for online voter registration for all eligible voters. 

“This bill will improve the accuracy of voter records, cut down on costs, and modernize outdated registration systems, while supporting states in implementing these updated systems,” said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters. “The League has advocated for online and electronic voter registration for many years and we are pleased to see Congress recognizing these technologies.”

Modernizing the American electoral system will protect and enhance access for eligible voters and this plan could add millions of eligible new voters to the rolls.

“This legislation is especially important for young people.  Eighteen to 24-year-olds only have a voter registration rate of about 55-percent, compared to the 70-percent rate for all voters of all ages, races and ethnicities.  By employing the latest technologies – the technologies that young people are familiar with – this legislation will bring voter registration into the 21st century,” Carson said.  

Expanding voter registration has been a principal goal of the League since its founding in 1920, prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.  The League was a leader in the enactment of the National Voter Registration Act 24 years ago.  That legislation dramatically improved voter registration rates and voter access by adopting the best technologies that were then available. 

“Now there are even more efficient and accurate ways to register voters and maintain voter rolls. That is what the Automatic Voter Registration Act is all about,” Carson continued.

“The bill also takes into account safeguards to secure personal information,” Carson said. “Privacy is an important issue for Americans and this bill holds data collection to the highest standards.”

The League of Women Voters supports this bill and urges all members of the Senate and House of Representatives to support this important legislation.

 

Contact: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 | scourtney@lwv.org