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President's Message (Jim Koshi)
Voter Service
Board Highlights
94 National Convention Report (Sue Irvine)
Why Don't We Vote?
United Nations
LWVHI Program, 1993-1995
Health Care Reform (Elizabeth Adams)
Politics in '94
Population - A Problem Everywhere
Law of the Sea
Cable Access
Recycling in Hawaii
Global Warming
Writing a Congressperson
Citizen's Guide to National Voter Registration
75th Anniversary

A Citizen's Guide to National Voter Registration

The 103rd Congress, affirming that the right of citizens to vote is a fundamental right and that it is the duty of the state, local, and federal governments to promote the exercise of that right, passed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The act was signed into law by President Clinton on May 20, 1993.

Widely known as Motor Voter, the National Voter Registration Act is designed to encourage voter registration and to remove discriminatory and unfair obstacles to voter registration.

The law applies to all federal elections and will take effect on January 1, 1,995 (with an extension of time for those states that must amend their constitutions to implement the act). States will have to pass legislation to implement the provisions of the act. States will also have to pass legislation to make the provisions of the act applicable to state and local elections, unless they choose to maintain a separate registration system for state and local elections-an option that would be expensive, inefficient, and possibly discriminatory.

The provisions of this act are in addition to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and do not allow activities that violate that act. Just as jurisdictions [that] are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act must pre-clear any changes in election laws or practices with the U.S. Department of Justice, they also must pre-clear any changes to implement the National Voter Registration Act.

The act requires states to register voters in three specified ways in addition to any other procedures the state uses for voter registration:

  • Simultaneous application for driver's license and voter registration

  • Mail application for voter registration

  • Application in person at designated government agencies, including public assistance agencies and agencies that provide services to people with disabilities

Election officials must send all applicants a notice informing them of their voter registration status.

From LWV-US Ed. Fund, in the Louisiana Voter, April-June 1994

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