Ranking Member Klobuchar Introduces Legislation to Make Voting Easier for All Americans
The Register America to Vote Act would require every state to register eligible citizens to vote when they turn 18
The Same Day Registration Act would require states to allow people to register to vote on the same day as the election
The Students Voicing Opinions in Today’s Elections (VOTE) Act would create a pilot program to educate high school seniors about registering to vote
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, introduced three bills to make voting easier for all Americans. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have authorized automatic voter registration and Minnesota is among the 32 states where automatic voter registration legislation has been introduced. In 2018, Minnesotans turned out to vote at the highest rate of any state in the country with 64.25 percent of registered voters casting a ballot.
“Voting is how Americans hold their elected leaders accountable—free and fair elections are central to our democracy,” Klobuchar said. “My bills will ensure that all eligible voters are able to make their voices heard at the ballot box by automatically registering eligible voters, encouraging young people to get involved in our elections, and making it simpler to vote on election day. When our laws make it easier to vote, more people participate in our elections and it makes our country stronger.”
The Register America to Vote Act would ensure that every state implements a secure process to automatically register eligible citizens to vote on their eighteenth birthday. The bill also directs states to allow voters who have been automatically registered, or who were previously registered to vote, to update their address through the day of the election. The bill authorizes a $325 million grant program for states to implement their automatic voter registration programs and to improve their election security. According to the Center for American Progress, automatically registering voters in every state would result in 22 million newly registered voters in just the first year of implementation.
“The health of our democracy relies on the participation of the governed. Automatic voter registration is a great way to ensure that all eligible Americans have a voice in that democracy. Even in Minnesota, the perennial national leader in voter participation, as many as one out of every eight eligible Minnesotans is not registered to vote. Senator Klobuchar’s proposal to require automatic voter registration is an investment in democracy that will lift up the voices of all people. I am proud to support automatic voter registration here in Minnesota and in every corner of America,” said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.
"Our democracy is strongest when voter participation is at its highest. Research shows that voting is a habit, and voting in the first election one is eligible for is critical to establishing that habit. Automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they turn 18 will help ensure that young Americans cast a vote in the first election they are eligible for and become habitual, lifelong voters. We are happy to support the Register America to Vote Act,” said Scott Warren, CEO of Generation Citizen.
“Before this bill, young people’s path to the ballot box was like driving through Manhattan at rush hour: long, stressful, and full of reasons to give up. Now young people will automatically be able to participate in our democracy at age 18. It’s time for our congress to listen to the next generation, and there is no better way to empower youth as change makers for our democracy than clearing their way to the ballot box,” said Jay Falk, a youth voter advocate.
The Students Voicing Opinions in Today’s Elections (VOTE) Act would create a pilot program to educate high school seniors about registering to vote and help get them registered.
"As certain states and localities try to create barriers to prevent young Americans from having their voices heard and votes counted, we must ensure that all Americans can have a say in the future of our democracy. Ensuring that high school seniors have voter registration information is an important step to counter voter suppression tactics that some states create, and we commend Senator Klobuchar for introducing this common-sense bill," said Aaron Scherb, Director of Legislative Affairs at Common Cause.
"Generation Citizen works to ensure that young people are prepared to work as active and effective citizens to strengthen our democracy. This requires all young people to be ready to vote in their first election and become habitual, lifelong voters. The pilot program established by the VOTE Act is a smart move to make this a reality,” added Warren.
Also today, Klobuchar introduced the Same Day Registration Act to require states to allow people to register to vote on the same day as the election.
Throughout her time in the Senate, Klobuchar has been fighting to protect voting rights for all Americans. Earlier this month, Klobuchar and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the SAVE VOTERs Act to amend the National Voter Registration Act to clarify that a state may not use someone’s failure to vote as reason to remove them as a registered voter. In March, Klobuchar and Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Support our Military Spouses Act. This legislation would reduce confusion and ensure military spouses do not have to establish new legal residency after every military reassignment. In 2017, Klobuchar and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Automatic Voter Registration Act, which would require states to automatically register eligible voters when they interact with certain state or federal agencies, unless the person declines.
Caption: Senator Klobuchar met in her office today with student activists who are working to register their peers to vote.
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