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USC CID | Report on CA Automated Voter Registration

In spring 2018, the California New Motor Voter (CNMV) program, California’s automatic voter registration, was implemented across the state. Under CNMV, applicants at the DMV must answer voter registration questions in order to complete their transaction. Voter registration proceeds automatically for all eligible applicants unless they choose to decline registration at the point of service. CNMV and online voter registration together account for the vast majority of registrations in recent years. In contrast to CNMV, which presses a registration decision only on DMV customers, online registration is available to all eligible-to-vote Californians but leaves it up to the user to take initiative. CNMV’s active approach is likely to reach more users at the periphery of the political system.

To better understand the effects of CNMV, the Center for Inclusive Democracy conducted a statewide analysis of registration and voting behavior in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 general elections. We compared new registrations and reregistrations by registration method, age, and race/ethnicity to examine how CNMV has changed the voter registration landscape and whether it shows evidence of increasing voter participation, particularly among underrepresented groups.

Watch the webinar on their report at this link.