Louisiana’s voter registration process needs to be updated to provide current and prospective voters with a system through the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) that can be trusted and easily understood. Our proposed three-pronged approach toward updating registrations or making new registrations will make the process seamless, transparent, and secure.

Add citizen filtering to ensure voter registrations are secure.

Details: Louisiana generally requires anyone applying for or renewing a driver’s license to present documents establishing either U.S. citizenship or legal immigration status. A citizenship filter would require the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) to use customer-provided documentation to filter confirmed non-citizens out of the voter registration process. Customers are not offered registration opportunities if they present certain identity documents such as a green card that show they are not U.S. citizens.

Why it matters: A citizenship filter prevents mistaken and malicious registration attempts, protecting the integrity of the electoral process. These incorrect registrations are inefficient and carry serious consequences, including denial of naturalization and deportation. Errors like these reduce trust in the election process. Citizenship filters are a commonsense security tool used in a number of other states, including Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Improve voter registration workflow with better question design and interface.

Details: Currently, an OMV employee must ask individuals, “Would you like to register to vote or update your voter information?” in order to complete the OMV transaction. If the answer is yes, the OMV employee asks additional voter registration questions that automatically transmits the voter registration application to the statewide registration database. Design experts, however, recommend an electronic screen that the applicant can self-navigate, using language like “While you’re here, let’s make sure you’re ready to vote in the next election. We will use your information to keep your voter registration up to date or register you to vote.” OMV customers would still have a clear opportunity to decline registration during the transaction.

Why it matters: State motor vehicle agencies are the most efficient and secure places to register voters. Louisiana lags significantly behind its neighbors in processing voter registration applications and updates through the OMV. In the 2020 cycle, only about 17% of the one million applications processed in the state came through OMV—significantly lower than states like Alabama (55%), Arkansas (47%), Florida (40%), Texas (39%), and Mississippi (36%). States that have implemented well-designed opt-out models have seen significant increases in voter registration.

Keep voter lists clean and accurate with customized voter registration at OMV.

Details: Currently, all OMV customers receive the same voter registration questions, regardless of registration status. In a customized system, OMV uses data from the secretary of state to identify registered and unregistered OMV customers, and to sort them into more efficient workflows. Current registrants—the vast majority—receive a more streamlined opportunity to confirm or update their registration information. Unregistered customers receive a full registration opportunity.

Why it matters: These customized procedures enhance the accuracy of the voter list, streamlines the user experience, and keeps it from being bloated with out-of-date or duplicate registrations. It also saves government resources by preventing registrars from sifting through duplicate registrations. In other states, this has reduced OMV transaction times by 30 seconds—saving thousands of hours annually to reduce costs on the taxpayer.