TWENTY states and the District of Columbia use Automated Verification and Registration to update their voter rolls. Virginia should consider doing likewise.
Under AVR, whenever residents interact with a state government agency, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, the information they provide is automatically transmitted to the state’s election agency, which then uses it to register them to vote if applicable, update the registered voter list, and discard outdated or duplicate information.
The idea took off in Oregon, which passed the nation’s first AVR law in 2015. Eligible but unregistered voters identified by the Oregon DMV were notified by mail that their names would be automatically added to the state’s voter rolls unless they opted out via a postcard.
The AVR program was found to increase not only the racial, age and income diversity of Oregon’s voters, but voter turnout as well. After two years, Oregon had registered 90 percent of all eligible voters, many living in rural counties. And a review found that the automated registration did not favor either major political party. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, called the program “a phenomenal success.”
Besides adding more eligible voters to the rolls, AVR also helps prevent people who are not eligible to vote from casting ballots.
“If you are someone who is concerned about election integrity and preventing fraud, maintaining accurate lists is one of the best ways possible to prevent fraud,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican who has proposed using AVR in his state.