Analysis

Alabama Works to Improve Motor Voter

Last month’s memorandum of understanding between Alabama and the U.S. Department of Justice outlines a series of actions the state must take to ensure that all of its eligible citizens can register to vote and update their registrations at motor vehicle offices. These steps include:

  • Fully integrating voter registration opportunities into all in-person and online applications for driver’s licenses and other identification documents.
  • Ensuring that change-of-address information submitted for driver’s license purposes also serves as notification for voter registration updates unless a customer declines the service.
  • Contacting all eligible but unregistered individuals, using data from motor vehicle agency transactions, to offer them an opportunity to register.

Per the memorandum, Alabama will “contact by mail and provide an application to register to vote by mail” to all eligible but unregistered individuals. The memorandum then cites the state’s membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) as a means by which Alabama may identify eligible individuals in order to satisfy this requirement. ERIC is a multistate partnership that uses a sophisticated and secure data-matching tool to improve the accuracy and efficiency of voter registration systems. Through participation in ERIC, member states can compare official data on eligible voters, including motor vehicle registrations, to keep their rolls more complete and up-to-date for mailing or other purposes. 

Keara Castaldo is a research associate and Samuel Derheimer is a manager of election initiatives with The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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