Automatic Voter Registration

Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is a system of automatically adding individuals to the voter rolls when they apply for a driver’s license or state identification card at the state’s licensing office or other agencies.

In many cases, AVR does not require voters to sign or affirm a statement attesting to their eligibility to vote and does not allow voters to decline to register until days or weeks later. In many cases, there is no verification of citizenship or other qualifications prior to registration. As a result, many argue that AVR violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) as it does not require voters to affirm their eligibility at the time of registration.

States with Automatic Voter Registration

Under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), state and federal registration forms are available in all types of state agencies and in each local election office. With voter registration never being easier in America, there is simply no need to place all citizens on the voter registration rolls regardless of eligibility or personal choice.

Below are some of the free speech arguments against AVR:

  • AVR takes the personal choice of registration away from the individual and violates a citizen’s First Amendment right to not participate in the electoral system.
  • The act of registration or voting is undoubtedly an act of political speech. Similarly, citizens have a personal right not to speak, vote or register to vote.
  • Many citizens are, in fact, trying to make a political statement when they choose not to register because they are not interested in the election or the candidates, believe that their vote will not make a difference, or do not wish to participate in politics.
  • AVR registration also violates a citizen’s right to privacy, as voter registration lists are publicly available records and citizens do not have an opportunity to decline to participate.

There is no evidence that AVR increases turnout, but rather creates unnecessary problems in the accurate registration of voters. In Canada, automatic voter registration did not increase voter participation.

Registration in the United States is easy, and voters already have multiple ways to register, either in person, by mail, and in most cases, online registration. There are also many nonprofit groups whose major purpose is registering citizens to vote and who solicit registrations every election cycle.

Automatic registration results in many ineligible names being added, creating inaccurate voter rolls. AVR increases the vulnerability of the system for fraud by registering people who have no intention of voting in the jurisdiction, and increasing the potential for others to vote in the non-voter’s name.

There are millions of outdated and inaccurate voter registrations across the country, and automatic voter registration will only worsen the problem. Under AVR, individuals could be registered in multiple locations without their knowledge simply because they interact with a government agency.

ACRU Commentary

  • portrayal of voting deception

Countering the Lies about Election Reform

The U.S. Supreme Court has pheld Ohio’s election reform law, but liberal courts have struck down voter photo ID laws in other states such as North Carolina and North Dakota and watered down photo ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin. Federal judges also have vacated statutes in Alabama, Georgia and Kansas that permitted states to require proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. The media and prominent Democrats cannot hide their delight.

Fixing Elections, Automatically

By Robert Knight If you think that the politicians who now run our government are bad, how about a system with leaders chosen by people too lazy even to register to vote? That's the goal of leftist groups that are pushing "automatic registration" while opposing common-sense election safeguards like photo voter ID laws and citizenship requirements. The process got going in 1993, when Bill Clinton signed his first piece of legislation, the National Voter Registration Act, better known as Motor Voter. That law mandates ease of registry to vote at state departments of motor vehicles and other government agencies, such as welfare offices. But people still have to bother to sign up. Automatic registration, otherwise known as "universal registration" was adopted in March in Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and the Democratic-led legislature approved the nation's first "opt-out" registration system. On the heels of that victory, progressives in 17 states and the District of Columbia, plus both houses of Congress, introduced similar bills. In June, Hillary Clinton floated the idea of automatically registering all 18-year-olds. California's Democratically-controlled Senate enacted the California New Motor Voter Program on Sept. 10, followed by the House on Sept. 11. Gov. Jerry Brown was expected to sign it. Under the new law, all adult citizens who get a driver's license, renew a license, obtain a state identification card, or file a change of address form with the Department of Motor Vehicles will be automatically registered to vote. As with Oregon's law, people can opt out. For now. Euthanasia-loving Oregon, which is keeping one step ahead of California as a fount for progressive activism on the Left Coast, had already adopted via referendum an all-mail-in ballot system in 1998. Mandating automatic registration is just the latest wrinkle. The next inevitable "reform" - mandatory voting - was mentioned by President Obama last March during a town hall in Cleveland, where he said, "Other countries have mandatory voting. It would be transformative if everybody voted - that would counteract money more than anything." So, people who can't be bothered to register or to vote and don't have even a minimal grasp of American constitutional government would be forced to vote. Qui bono? Obviously, the party that sustains the Free Stuff Army, whose growth to a tipping point could end the American experiment in liberty and self-government. This would certainly qualify as "transformative." The national campaign for automatic registration is led by a group called FairVote, which is funded by left-leaning organizations that include the Ford Foundation, the Herb Block Foundation, the Ms. Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and George Soros' Open Society Institute. Based in the hippie town of Takoma Park, Maryland, where FairVote led a successful fight to change the law in 2013 to allow 16-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, FairVote is also pushing to destroy the constitutionally required Electoral College and replace it with a National Popular Vote in presidential elections. This would make smaller states meaningless in presidential campaigns (talk about "flyover country") and create a huge incentive for even more vote fraud in major cities like Philadelphia and Chicago, where stuffing ballot boxes is second nature. In addition to advocating a national voting age of 16, FairVote wants "a comprehensive 'voting curriculum.'" Imagine for a moment what will be served up to high school students, who are already immersed in a progressive stew of moral relativism, climate change hysteria, revisionist history, sexual "liberation" and increasingly stringent political correctness. It's not for nothing that SAT critical reading scores have hit their lowest average in 40 years, and the lowest math scores in 16 years. Teachers are too busy brainwashing kids into the New Political Order to bother much with math and English. No wonder the left wants 16-year-olds to vote before they fully develop their cautionary adult natures. For good measure, FairVote also supports the misnamed Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015, which would undo the Supreme Court's historic Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013 that struck down an outdated portion of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). FairVote employs an outrageous lie, saying that the effect of the Shelby ruling is "stripping the Justice Department of the powers it had for five decades to curb racial discrimination in voting." Nonsense. All the Shelby ruling did was to end the anachronistic system by which Southern states and several other jurisdictions were under special scrutiny of the Justice Department and a D.C.-based federal court panel. The high court noted that Jim Crow was long dead and that the VRA categories were based on now-irrelevant 50-year-old data. Meanwhile, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is still "a permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting. It bans intentional discrimination as well as discriminatory 'results' based on a court's review of the 'totality of the circumstances' under which it occurred," according to the Heritage Foundation.

Heritage Report: ‘Universal Voter Registration’ Would Cause ‘Chaos’

In a new report, Heritage Foundation scholar Hans von Spakovsky examines "universal voter registration" and finds that it "could significantly damage the integrity of America's voter registration system. The 'voter registration modernization' concept of automatically registering individuals through information contained in various existing government databases would throw the current system into chaos.

Opinion: The Left’s Ongoing Assault on Election Integrity

Robert Knight: If you think the left is resting on its laurels after Barack Obama's re-election and the Democrats' retention of the U.S. Senate, think again. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who halted photo ID laws in South Carolina and Texas before the November election, has suggested that the United States should consider adopting "automatic" voter registration.

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