The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada is throwing its full support behind Question 5, the Automatic Voter Registration Initiative. The national ACLU organization is committing $1.15 million to the Question 5 campaign, and the ACLU of Nevada will knock on tens of thousands of doors to mobilize voters to support this commonsense policy solution.
Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) will modernize Nevada’s voter registration processes at the DMV, and expand access to the ballot for thousands of Nevadans, including communities of color, young people, those serving in the military, and first-time voters.
WHAT IS AVR?
Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) will make voter registration an automatic process via DMV transactions unless an individual opts not to register. It appears as Question 5 on the 2018 ballot and will modify Nevada statutes with a vote of the people.
AVR first passed in 2015 in Oregon. Fourteen states plus the District of Colombia currently have some form of AVR: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
AVR was introduced to the Nevada Legislature through the petition process in February 2017. The measure was vetoed by the governor the following month, but because it started as a petition, the initiative is now before the voters.
The ACLU of Nevada is joining the campaign to pass Question 5 because it will make it easier for hundreds of thousands of Nevadans to register and vote. Simply put: That’s good for democracy.
Nevada Has a Voter Participation Problem
In 2016, the United States Census Bureau estimated Nevada has 2,175,874 voting-age residents, but as of August 2018, our state has only 79 percent as many registered voters.
Nevada also has a reputation as having one of the lowest rates for voter turnout in the nation. In 2016 in Las Vegas, less than 5 percent of eligible young people under 30 voted in the presidential election.
The National Voter Registration Act created the Motor Voter program through which people are given the opportunity to register to vote at the DMV. The ACLU of Nevada has worked with the Secretary of State’s office to bring Nevada into compliance with NVRA, and AVR makes the registration process automatic.
Consider this statistic from a 2016 Pew survey: Less than 20 percent of Americans have ever been asked to register to vote at the DMV.
Question 5 Will Help Bring Nevada Elections into the 21st Century
Automatic Voter Registration is the catalyst Nevada needs to update the technology and software that holds our voter information and to bring elections into the 21st Century.
Nevada has needed new software for years. The issue has been a central part of our work on National Voter Registration Act compliance in Nevada. Question 5 can be implemented to streamline the process for registering to vote at the DMV and make the voter rolls more secure. AVR will fix some of the most common voter registration issues, like changes of address.
Eligibility requirements will not change when AVR is adopted. Question 5 will not make it easier for ineligible voters to register, but the measure will signal the end of paper forms and snail mail.
Question 5 Means Updated Software, Secure Storage
The headlines are filled with stories about election tampering, illegal voting, and hacking, and too many Americans are losing their faith in the franchise. Automatic Voter Registration software can be implemented to keep our voter information secure from intrusion.
Moving to a new polling precinct or a new town? Streamlining the process for updating your voter registration at the DMV means no worries about outdated information in Nevada’s voter rolls.
Voting Rights Are Essential for a Thriving Democracy
In recent years, Americans have seen a series of assaults on our right to vote. Some states have enacted harsh voter ID restrictions, and some have chipped away at helpful programs like early voting.
It should never be hard for eligible Nevadans to register and vote. Our current processes are outdated and present challenges to people living on tribal lands, young people, poor people, veterans, communities of color, and others. We need a modern, streamlined registration process and to remove obstacles to the ballot box.
The ability to vote is essential for our democracy to continue to function, and Nevada needs to do more to make it easier for the public to participate.
Automatic Voter Registration: Success in Oregon
Oregon was the first state to implement Automatic Voter Registration, and studies have shown it helped thousands of voters participate in elections. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 272,000 new people were added to the voter rolls, and more than 98,000 of them were new voters in the November 2016 presidential election.
In Oregon, Automatic Voter Registration also helped more than 116,000 people register who were unlikely to have done so otherwise, and more than 40,000 of these previously disengaged people voted in the 2016 election.