Q: Will agencies like the DMV start registering individuals to vote?
A: No. That responsibility will still lie with the state’s election official. When a state has AVR, state agencies transfer the information provided by eligible citizens to the Secretary of State’s office or the chief elections office where voting eligibility is verified. Only after voting eligibility is confirmed is an individual added to the voter roll.
Q: Can AVR be offered at agencies other than the DMV?
A: Yes. Automated Registration and Verification can be offered at agencies that collect the necessary information to determine voter eligibility. These could include Medicaid offices or offices where citizens can register for hunting or fishing permits.
Q: What if individuals do not want to be registered to vote?
A: They can opt out of being registered using the state’s online voter registration system for states that have optimized their online portal, or by contacting their county office at any time to take themselves off the rolls.
Q: Will this create burdens for state agencies or election officials?
A: No. AVR saves both time and taxpayer dollars by streamlining the voter registration process and automatically sending electronic records to the election officials. Election officials would no longer have to engage in time-consuming paper-based data entry. In addition, they would also no longer have to decipher poor handwriting on registration forms, increasing the accuracy of our state’s voting rolls.
Q: Does Automated Registration and Verification work if a state still uses paper forms at the DMV?
A: Yes. While a growing number of states are seeing tremendous cost savings from electronic data transfers, AVR can still work with paper.
Q: How does AVR protect undercover police officers and victims of domestic violence?
A: Most states have Address Confidentiality Programs that shield the personal information of people enrolled in the program. Those important protections apply here as well. Additional measures can be taken as well, such as allowing individuals with safety concerns to apply to keep their information confidential with the local election administrator.
Q: Does AVR ensure that only eligible citizens are registered to vote?
A: Yes. AVR allows for multiple points for verification. The automatic program uses secure database software to send over only eligible voters to the chief election official in the state. The entity that registers voters then verifies that the information is complete and accurate before individuals are added to the rolls.
Q: Where has Automated Registration and Verification been passed and/or implemented?
A: AVR has been passed and successfully implemented in Oregon, California, Connecticut, Vermont, West Virginia, Alaska, Illinois, Colorado, Georgia, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, Maine, and the District of Columbia. In places where AVR has been successfully implemented such as Oregon, the program has reduced human errors and improved the accuracy of the list. Numerous other states are poised to pass an AVR system.
Q: How does AVR protect voter data?
A: By moving to Automated Registration and Verification, the same information an eligible voter provides on a DMV form or a change of address form is used to update their registration. This ensures that there are fewer human errors from data entry, enabling county clerks to spend time and resources on additional verification. AVR also provides an opportunity for states to update and modernize their database technology to provide security safeguards like early warning systems to detect outside tampering and up-do-date anti-hacking software.
Q: Does this cost state money?
A: AVR has a small initial startup cost, and it’s recommended that states use the opportunity to invest in the security of their system. Once the AVR system is in place, there’s an estimated cost savings of $3.50 per registration since county clerks no longer have to process voter registration cards manually.
Q: Does AVR have any hidden fees we’ll find out about later?
A: No. Each state has a competitive process to identify the best vendor to maintain their data. Because states will realize cost-savings from a more efficient process that limits the need for data entry, the state will save money over time. Any additional security upgrades to the existing database would have had to happen anyway.
Q: Can anyone register more than once between agencies?
A: No, in fact AVR results in fewer duplicate names appearing on the list. States use data matching software to ensure that only one record for each eligible voter is added to the rolls. With an AVR system, voter information is constantly updated and outdated and/or duplicate records removed so that voter registration records are always up to date and contain only eligible voters.
Q: Does this change anything for anyone already registered?
A: No. Eligible voters who have registered previously are still registered to vote—though it will help make their voting records more accurate by updating addresses of eligible voters and preventing duplicate registration records.
Q: Does this help one political party over another?
A: No, in fact, data out of Oregon shows that all political parties benefited from additional voters.
Q: What about Russian hacking? Doesn’t this make our system more vulnerable?
A: No. AVR uses existing technology and requires state officials to upgrade that tech so their existing databases and voting systems are more secure. AVR helps ensure that only eligible Americans can participate in our elections—and that our elections are protected against tampering, hacking and foreign interference.
Q: Doesn’t AVR create more opportunities for the system to get hacked?
A: No, AVR uses existing databases in the state. Because AVR saves time, the clerks on the front lines of protecting our elections have more time to detect any irregularities in the system. In addition, AVR allows states to upgrade their existing databases, meaning states can put more protections in place to prevent hacking. States need AVR to free up time for county clerks so they can protect our elections from outside interference.