County Responsibilities

Tracking NVRA Voter Registrations

To properly track NVRA registrations, county elections officials record the serial numbers of the voter registration cards (VRCs) supplied to each Voter Registration Agency (VRA) office or site. VRAs with multiple sites in a county should coordinate distribution of the VRCs with county elections officials to ensure proper tracking.

Reporting NVRA Voter Registrations to the Secretary of State

County elections officials must report the number of voter registrations generated by each VRA office or site in the county to the Secretary of State by the 10th day of every month. This report has two components and the Secretary of State has developed two reporting templates for the 58 counties that are emailed to the County Elections NVRA Coordinator each month:  a one page report with category totals for non-DMV agencies and a spreadsheet that contains a page for each county with a list of the known VRA offices and sites in the county. Each county elections official should maintain an up-to-date list of the VRA offices and sites in the county and add new offices and sites to the list as appropriate.

Federal Reporting to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires states to report biennially to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) on the impact of the NVRA. Therefore, under the NVRA, county elections officials keep records and report to the Secretary of State's office the total numbers for:

  • Active and inactive* registered voters;
  • Voters in the most recent federal general election;
  • New, valid registrations received;
  • Deletions from the voter rolls;
  • Registrations (including valid, rejected, duplicate, and re-registrations) by category:
    • Mail;
    • Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV);
    • Public assistance agencies designated as VRAs;
    • State-funded agencies primarily serving people with disabilities designated as VRAs;
    • Armed forces recruitment offices;
    • Other VRAs, including Franchise Tax Board offices and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration offices;
    • Other (e.g., voter registration drives, political parties, petition circulators, schools, individuals);
  • Duplicate registrations by category above; and
  • Confirmation notices mailed and responses received, as required under the NVRA List Maintenance Requirements.

In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which required each state to create a statewide voter registration system. California now has a centralized voter system, which links to county voter registration systems. As a result, overall data about voter registrations is automatically fed into the statewide system at the Secretary of State's office. The system currently does not have the capability of tracking the number of new or duplicate registrations coming from the specific categories listed above. Therefore, counties must track this data separately and report it to the Secretary of State.

*Voters will be given an "inactive" status when a county elections official receives information (for example, from the post office) indicating the voter has moved out of state or mail is returned undeliverable without a forwarding address. For more information on state law "change of address" and "inactive" status procedures, see California Elections Code sections 2220 to 2227.

NVRA Training

The NVRA requires VRAs to train employees annually and county elections officials to assist with training, if requested by a VRA. The Secretary of State has developed NVRA training materials for this purpose.

NVRA List Maintenance Requirements

The NVRA requires counties to do the following in order to maintain an up-to-date list of voters within the county:

  • Accept voter registrations, including those from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices and VRAs;
  • Send notices to newly registered voters, or current voters who update their registrations. These notices are called Voter Notification Cards (VNCs);
  • Send residency confirmation mailings to voters pursuant to California Elections Code sections 2220 to 2227.
  • Send address confirmation notices to voters who move; and
  • Mail address confirmation notices and place voters on inactive status if they have moved out of state or have their mail returned as undeliverable with no forwarding address provided. An inactive voter is removed from the voter list and cancelled if two federal general elections have passed from the mailing of an address confirmation notice that complies with Section 8(d)(2) of the NVRA and the voter has not voted in any election, or responded to the address confirmation notice, or confirmed their residential address in California. State law also contains change of address, inactive, and cancellation procedures in California Elections Code sections 2220 to 2227.