The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), also known as Motor Voter, requires Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices to provide an opportunity to register to vote to people applying for or renewing a driver license or identification card.

How Motor Voter Works in California

Each applicant for a California driver license or identification card (CDL/ID) receives an NVRA voter preference form and a voter registration card. Applicants have the opportunity to register to vote or re-register to update their name, address, or political party preference.

In cases where people can renew their driver license by mail, the DMV includes with every renewal by mail notice an NVRA voter preference form and a voter registration card.

Automatic Transmission of Address Changes

When voters update their address with the DMV, the new address is sent electronically to county elections offices and voter registration records are updated automatically. If the address change was submitted as part of a license or ID renewal and the voter moved to a new county, the voter must re-register to vote. In this case, the DMV provides a new voter registration card and asks the voter to re-register to vote.

Voter Preference Forms

Like other agencies designated as voter registration agencies under the NVRA, the DMV tracks the number of people who decline to register to vote after given the opportunity. These declinations or voter preference forms are kept on file at the DMV.


Under the NVRA, a person's name and the specific DMV office where a person chooses to register or declines to register is private and must be kept confidential. However, aggregate numbers of voter registrations and declinations from the DMV are reportable and a matter of public record.


The DMV sends monthly statistical reports to each county elections office with the total number of voter registrations and intra- and inter-county address changes received by the DMV for the county. The DMV also sends a statewide report to the Secretary of State.