This month, we’re marking the 22nd anniversary of the passage of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Commonly referred to as the "Motor Voter Law," the NVRA was passed in 1993 to make it easier for Americans to register to vote.
The League of Women Voters has worked to expand access to the ballot since our founding 95 years ago and we served as a key player in advocating for the NVRA, working for years to ensure its passage and implementation. In the years since the NVRA became law, the League has worked tirelessly to help it live up to its potential of helping millions of Americans register to vote when they visit their local motor vehicles offices or public assistance agencies.
But there remains so much more to do to make our elections fair, free and accessible. The League believes that our democracy will be stronger when the American electorate is more representative of the communities we live in. To that end, the League has registered hundreds of thousands of new voters in recent years – focusing our efforts in high schools, community colleges, community events and naturalization ceremonies for new citizens. The League has also worked in over 20 states in the past decade to defend voting rights when they come under threat. Finally, we’re working right now to bring about improvements to make our voting systems more modern and responsive to voters’ needs.
At a time when Americans can accomplish so much online, from signing contracts to paying bills, our election systems should reflect the 21st Century by developing a secure online voter registration system. Online voter registration cuts costs, increases the accuracy of voter rolls and eases the administrative burdens on elections officials, and also increases voter registration numbers. While the League is encouraged to see many states currently considering online voter registration proposals, we want to make sure those new systems will not be limited to those with a driver’s license or non-driver’s ID with a signature on file in their state. This type of restriction would exclude millions of eligible voters who lack the proper ID and impose a restrictive ID requirement on online registration where there isn’t one for offline registrations.
Beyond secure online voter registration, the League is also working to make voter registration permanent and portable within a state, allowing voters to transfer their voter registration when they move to a new address without needing to re-register every time. With the average person living in the U.S. moving roughly 12 times in their lifetime, and with young people especially likely to move, this common-sense reform could make it much simpler for ALL eligible voters to weigh in on our nation’s elections.
In addition to seeking to expand voter registration opportunities, the League is also working to expand early voting, improve polling place management and electronic streamlining. Learn more about the reforms we’re proposing in our new video.
As we celebrate 95 years of Making Democracy Work® and 22 years of increased access to voter registration through the National Voter Registration Act, help the League celebrate by sharing our new video on our suggestions to improve our elections systems!