SOLVE Policy Brief: Automatic Voter Registration

Voting Rights

DOWNLOAD: SOLVE Policy Brief: Automatic Voter Registration

The Southern Leadership for Voter Engagement (SOLVE) Coalition is a multi-state collaborative network of grassroots community organizations and voting rights advocates dedicated to sharing strategies, resources, and support in the contemporary struggle to protect voting rights. While member organizations employ a variety of strategies in their work across a broad array of democracy issues, the SOLVE Coalition is united behind a pro-voter policy agenda that champions policies and reforms that encourage civic participation and make it easier to vote.

Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) represents one of today’s most promising strategies for efficiently and effectively enfranchising all Americans, especially those most vulnerable to disenfranchisement including communities of color, young people, the elderly, voters with disabilities, voters with limited English proficiency, and low-income communities. Our country’s voter-initiated registration system, rooted in a history of voter suppression, creates contemporary barriers that exclude millions of potential voters from the promise of our democracy.1 While lower turnout among demographics has multiple, complex causes, the data show that differences in turnout are reduced among registered voters, pointing to the straightforward correlation of registration and participation.2 Increasing the rates of voter registration through a comprehensive and inclusive automatic voter registration system is a critical first step toward achieving a more fully participatory and representative democracy.

AVR legislation has been introduced in every Southern state over the last five years, and last year, Virginia was added to the list of states implementing the policy. Additionally, the national energy that is growing around AVR presents an exciting moment for SOLVE members to lay a foundation of organizing and advocacy for the reform in the South that can be built upon in the years to come.