Statement on Vermont Gov. Shumlin Signing Automatic Voter Registration Bill into Law
April 2, 2016

SiX, Who Helped Move Vermont’s Bill Forward, Points to Growing Momentum for Voter Modernization in the States

DENVER — Today, Vermont became the fourth state with a secure automatic voter registration process on its books. The new law, which passed Vermont’s three-party legislature with nearly unanimous support, modernizes Vermont’s current voter registration system by automatically registering eligible Vermonters when they apply for or renew their driver’s license or another state-issued ID.

“This bill makes voter registration simple and convenient for busy Vermont families, seniors, and students,” said Nick Rathod, Executive Director of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX)“We are proud of the work SiX did to help make this victory a reality for all Vermonters, and we congratulate the Vermont legislators and many advocates who have taken a powerful stand for voting rights.”

Vermont is the second state this year – following West Virginia – to pass automatic voter registration with significant bipartisan support. SiX played an instrumental role in moving Vermont’s bill forward – working closely with national voting rights groups and local advocates such as Main Street Alliance of Vermont, VPIRG, and Rights & Democracy to support bill sponsor Rep. Chris Pearson, other state legislators, the Senate Committee on Government Operations, and Secretary of State Jim Condos.

“What struck me most about this process was that the debate turned entirely on ensuring every part of this bill increased access broadly and equitably for all Vermonters,” said Lindsay DesLauriers, Director of Main Street Alliance of Vermont, SiX’s local partner. “While there is a push to limit voter access in other parts of the country, the members of all parties in Vermont questioned only the extent to which this legislation could be more inclusive and create more opportunities for people to vote.”

Pointing to last year’s automatic voter registration victories in Oregon and California, and efforts to pass similar measures in 28 states and the District of Columbia this year, SiX Outreach Director Sam Munger noted that Vermont’s law represents the latest development in a growing national trend.

“Across the country, more and more states are realizing that this is a common-sense, bipartisan way to make voting more accessible and secure for everyone,” said Munger. “And looking at the example of Oregon, which has already quadrupled registration rates since its new automatic voter registration system was put in place last year, it’s clear these policies are working.”

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