The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requires state agencies to provide Voter Registration services for their customers.
In Washington State, the Department of Licensing (DOL) sends voter registration data electronically when applicants apply for Driver's Licenses, or name changes. This program is called Motor Voter. DOL also sends address changes to the OSOS electronically.
In addition to Motor Voter, the NVRA requires each state to designate agencies for the registration of voters.
In 2007, Governor Gregoire designated DSHS as a Voter Registration Agency. In 2010, the Governor issued directive 10-01 to detail and reinforce DSHS's responsibilites for voter registration services. She appointed a chief risk officer as DSHS's Voter Registration Assistance Officer, and called for Administrations to appoint Voter Registration Assistance Coordinators in each division of DSHS. The four divisions implementing the requirements are
- Community Services Division (CSD)
- Home and Community Services (HCS)
- Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
The largest segment of DSHS, Community Services Division (CSD), created a tracking tool (VRT) in 2008 to automate the offering of voter registration services to all eligible clients at application, reassessment and address change, and to help with reporting of these services. In 2010, they added to this tool by prepopulating the VR form with the client's name and address.
HCS and DDD track their VR services through their CARE tool. However, the staff person could skip the VR questions. In 2010, the VR questions became a required field during the CARE assessment.
DVR continues to offer services, and to manually record the client's response on a Voter Registration Service Form.
Other agencies also provide Voter Registration services to clients (Veterans Affairs, WIC).
All VR forms provided by these agencies are identified as 'Agency Based' forms so that the office of the Secretary of State can track them as they are mailed to the state office, and so that county staff can indicate the registration source when processing the registration (which tranfers to the Registration Method field of the VRDB).
MORE on the NVRA
Congress enacted the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to
- Reverse the effects of past discriminatory practices regarding voter registration,
- Insure equal access to voter registration and voting for all eligible Americans,
- Remove the vestiges of discrimination which historically resulted in lower voter registration rates of minorities and persons with disabilities.
The NVRA is the only federal law that requires states to affirmatively offer voter registration services to citizens.