Voting rights advocates and New Jersey officials announced today that they have reached a settlement to ensure low-income citizens are provided voter registration services through public assistance agencies, as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). New Jerseyans will be able to access these registration options in advance of the 2016 presidential elections.
Commonly known as the “Motor Voter” law, the NVRA requires motor vehicle agencies—as well as public assistance agencies that provide services such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other benefits—to proactively offer voter registration services to their clients. Since the implementation of the NVRA in 1993, over 170 million Americans have applied to get on the voter rolls through these registration services.
The settlement follows a notice letter to the governor and Department of Human Services (DHS) from Project Vote, Demos, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Rutgers Constitutional Rights Clinic, the NAACP, and the law firm of McCarter & English. The coalition’s notice letter, sent on behalf of the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP, alleged that New Jersey’s public assistance agencies were not consistently offering clients on SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid an opportunity to register to vote.