06.08.22

Leahy Joins Klobuchar And Others To Introduce Legislation To Make Registering To Vote Easier For All Americans

. . . The Register America to Vote Act would require every state to register eligible citizens to vote when they turn 18

WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2022) -- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, led nine of her colleagues in introducing legislation to make registering to vote easier for all Americans. The Register America to Vote Act would require every state to create a system to register all eligible citizens to vote when they turn 18 and ensure all eligible voters are covered by automatic registration through motor vehicle agencies. 

Automatic voter registration is a proven policy, with 22 states and the District of Columbia having already authorized or implemented automatic voter registration systems. 

“Our democracy works better and our country is stronger when our laws make it easier for people to vote,” said Klobuchar. “By requiring states to automatically register all eligible voters, this legislation will remove barriers that keep people from voting, and ensure that every American can have their voice heard at the ballot box.” 

In addition to Klobuchar, the legislation was also sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

The Register America to Vote Act would:  

  • Require states to establish a system to automatically register all eligible voters when they turn 18;
  • Ensure all eligible voters are covered by automatic registration through motor vehicle agencies while  preserving the option to opt out of registering to vote during their interaction with the agency;
  • Authorize $3 billion in grants for states to implement automatic voter registration; 
  • Allow voters to update their registration in the course of interaction with motor vehicle agencies;
  • Create safeguards against registration of ineligible voters and protections for people who are erroneously registered; and
  • Direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop voter database management standards and security policies states can adopt.

As Chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee with oversight over federal elections, Klobuchar has long been a national leader in the fight to strengthen access to voting. 

In May, she and Warren introduced legislation with nine Democratic colleagues to provide federal resources to support states in administering elections and improve voting access in underserved communities. 

In March, Klobuchar successfully urged the Biden administration to prioritize funding for postage-free ballot delivery and election security in its Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal.

Last fall, Klobuchar introduced the Freedom to Vote Act, which would set basic national standards to make sure all Americans can cast their ballots in the way that works best for them, regardless of what zip code they live in, including by improving voting access, expanding early-in person voting and voting by mail, and modernizing election systems. All Senate Democrats cosponsored this legislation and voted to advance the bill in January. 

Last August, Klobuchar introduced legislation with Merkley and Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and  Jon Ossoff (D-GA) to strengthen guardrails for federal election records, prevent election subversion, and protect election administrators. 

In 2017, Klobuchar first introduced the Register America to Vote Act to ensure that every state develops and implements a secure process to automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they turn 18. The same year, she and Leahy also introduced legislation with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to require states to automatically register eligible voters when they interact with certain state or federal agencies, unless the person declines.  

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