General NVRA Requirements



The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) took effect in 1995. The law is often referred to as Motor Voter, because one of its main provisions requires Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices to offer people an opportunity to register to vote when they renew their driver license or state ID card. Under the NVRA, many other government offices in California are also required to offer people the chance to register to vote, including social service agencies, armed forces recruitment centers, and state tax agencies. Each NVRA Voter Registration Agency must provide people with the chance to register to vote or, if they choose not to register, to sign a form declining to register.

The NVRA has five main provisions for states to follow:

  1. Voter Registration: Offer opportunities to register to vote at all NVRA Voter Registration Agencies. For more information, please visit our Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Other NVRA Voter Registration Agencies web pages;
  2. Voter Registration List Maintenance: Adopt procedures for removing ineligible voters from the list of registered voters, while ensuring no voters are removed for failure to cast a ballot. In addition, elections officials may use change of address information to update voter records, but may not cancel a voter record based on this information unless this information is confirmed by the registrant, or without first sending a notice to the voter and waiting a period of two consecutive federal general elections. For more information, please visit our NVRA List Maintenance Requirements web page;
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  4. Fail Safe Voting: Let voters cast a provisional ballot if they have moved within the same county but did not re-register at their new address. For more information about provisional ballots, please review California Elections Code, sections 14310-14311.
  5. NVRA Record Keeping and Reporting: Keep track of voter registration numbers overall and, in particular, how many voter registrations come in from NVRA Voter Registration Agencies. Report that information to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) by March 31st in odd-numbered years. While the number of declinations (when a voter declines to register) is not required to be reported to the EAC, the NVRA requires that declination forms be kept on file at each NVRA voter registration agency. For more information, please visit our NVRA Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements web page; and
  6. National Voter Registration Form: Accept new voter registrations on the National Voter Registration Form.

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