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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: June 30, 2021
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: Fifteen states plus DC enacted AVR legis­lat­ively, two did so admin­is­trat­ively without passing new laws, and three approved the policy through a ballot initi­at­ive.
  • Covered agen­cies: Nine states are imple­ment­ing AVR at DMV offices alone, ten 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 four provide the oppor­tun­ity to decline via a mailer sent to the customer after the trans­ac­tion.
  • Expli­cit protec­tions for certain groups: Eleven 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