Committee Greenlights Bill To Automatically Register New Voters At DMV

The Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee advanced legislation today sponsored by Senator Andrew Zwicker and Senator James Beach that would change various Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) procedures to provide a new Automatic Voter Registration System (AVR) in New Jersey.

“Updating our AVR system has the power to increase voter registration and turnout due to the removal of registration barriers, especially for low-income communities and communities of color,” said Senator Zwicker (D-Middlesex/Mercer/Somerset/Hunterdon). “More voters means a more representative constitutional democracy in New Jersey, allowing more residents the opportunity to shape the State they live in.”

Currently, the New Jersey MVC utilizes an AVR system where eligible citizens are given a prompt when performing a license renewal or update asking if they want to register to vote or update their voter registration information.

The bill, S-1636, proposes an AVR system that would automatically register an eligible voter when they perform a transaction at the MVC, apply for Medicaid, or are scheduled to be released from incarceration. Once the Secretary of State verifies such a person is eligible to vote, a notice would be sent to them which the eligible voter may return for party affiliation purposes or to opt-out from registration.

“Not only does this new AVR system increase the number of registered voters, it will also save counties time and money,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden/Burlington). “Updating AVR will reduce the amount of money spent on staff time, paper processing, and mailing, creating a more efficient voter registration system.”

The bill advanced out of committee in a 3-2 vote.

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