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Expert Brief

Policy Differences of Automatic Voter Registration

The details of AVR vary state-by-state. Here is a full list of all those differences and each state’s specific policies.

Last Updated: October 23, 2023
Published: June 19, 2019

While opting out and electronically transferring information are the two necessary components of AVR, states’ policies still vary along the following dimensions (the chart on the next page describes each state’s policy): 

  • Method of approval: Seventeen states plus DC enacted AVR legislatively, three did so administratively without passing new laws, and three approved the policy through a ballot initiative.
  • Covered agencies: Ten states are implementing AVR at DMV offices alone, twelve plus DC are implementing it at DMV offices and other government agencies, and Alaska implements AVR through its Permanent Fund Dividend application.
  • Opportunity to decline registration: Sixteen states plus DC provide each customer an opportunity to decline registration during the agency transaction, and seven states provide the opportunity to decline via a mailer sent to the customer after the transaction.
  • Explicit protections for certain groups: Thriteen states plus DC include statutory provisions protecting individuals who become inadvertently registered, and three states explicitly help keep confidential the addresses of domestic violence survivors who interact with AVR agencies.
  • Public-education requirements: Six states explicitly call for campaigns to educate the public about AVR.

State AVR Policies