News Releases, Media Advisories

For Immediate Release:                                                                              Contact:  Ron Harris
July 7, 1999                                                                                                                     Sharon Snyder
                                                                                                                                          Ian Stirton
                                                                                                                                          Kelly Huff

FEC ISSUES REPORT ON IMPACT

OF NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION ACT

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission has submitted a report to Congress and the President on the impact of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, usually referred to as the "Motor Voter" Act. The report says that voter registration in states covered by the NVRA* rose in 1998 by 3.72 percentage points -- or some 7,100,000 people -- over 1994, the previous comparable election.

In response to an FEC survey, states reported 140,946,508 registered voters in 1998, amounting to 70.15% of the voting age population – the highest percentage of voter registration in a non-presidential, Congressional election since 1970.

Highlights of the report, which covers 1997 and 1998, include:

-- Motor vehicle offices yielded the highest volume of registration applications, 42.9%. Total of those registration applications was 15,175,653 of the 35,372,213 applications or transactions processed nationwide. But the report also says, "This finding is hardly surprising, though, in light of the fact that, according to the Department of Transportation, 87% of the voting age population obtain drivers licenses or non-driver certificates."

-- Postcard registration accounted for nearly another quarter, 24.9% of new voter registration applications.

-- Registration drives, deputy registrars, and in-person registrations accounted for 24.8% of all new applications. All other agencies covered by the act made up the remainder of new applications.

-- A total of 9,063,326 names were deleted from registration lists under the new list verification procedures of the law, while another 14,640,557 registrants were declared "inactive" and will be removed after 2000 if they fail to respond by or vote in that election.

Based on problems reported by the states to the FEC’s Office of Election Administration, the Commission reiterates three recommendations for improving the administration of the NVRA:

"Recommendation 1: [for voter identification] that states which do not require all or part of the applicant’s Social Security number voluntarily (1) amend their election codes to require but not divulge only the last four digits of their Social Security number from all new voter registration applicants; and (2) endeavor to obtain but not divulge that same item of information from all current registered voters."

"Recommendation 2: that states which have not yet done so, voluntarily

(1)develop and implement a statewide computerized voter registration database; (2)ensure that all local registration offices are computerized; and (3) link their statewide computerized system, where feasible, with the computerized systems of the collateral public agencies relevant to the NVRA (motor vehicle offices, public assistance offices, etc.)."

"Recommendation 3: that the U.S. Postal Service (1) create a new class of mail for ‘official election material’ that encompasses all mail items requisite to the NVRA and provide the most favorable reduced rates affordable for the first class treatment of such mailings; and (2) provide space in their postal lobbies free of charge to state and local election officials for voter registration material."

This report, entitled "The Impact of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 on the Administration of Elections for Federal Office, 1997-1998" is the third in a series of reports to the Congress, as required by law. Paper copies of the report may be obtained through the FEC Press Office. It will be placed on the FEC Web site, www. fec.gov, in the near future.

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* Forty four (44) States and the District of Columbia are covered by the NVRA. Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and Wyoming are exempt from the provisions of the Act. Nevada failed to respond to the FEC questionnaire.