Automatic Voter Registration Act May Increase Voter Turnout
Recently Rep. David Cicilline proposed the Automatic Voter Registration Act (H.R. 2694) in an effort to protect the right to vote and expand access for eligible voters in the United States. The bill requires local motor vehicle departments to forward information to elections officials, who send the individual a notification that they will be registered to vote after 21 days. Anyone can opt out of registration before the 21-day window is up but otherwise they will be automatically registered. Currently, citizens have an option to register to vote when visiting motor vehicle departments; however, a number of people never register and consequently do not participate in elections. Although voter confidence is also an issue, the bill could potentially increase voter turnout. Oregon has passed an automatic voter registration law and similar bills have been considered in Illinois, California, and Vermont.
At Texas Southern University, Hillary Clinton mentioned the bill noting that those who oppose it are, “systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of citizens from voting.” Although Clinton’s backing may hinder Republican support, Congressman Cicilline is hopeful that there will be bipartisan support on the issue. Other co-sponsors include: Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.), and civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis (Ga). The bill has been referred to the House Committee on House Administration and is awaiting review.
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