Vote Now

The National Voter Registration Act Made It Easier for Countless Americans to Vote

As part of our Vote Now series, VICE Impact will feature stories that highlight historic moments of voter expansion in the US.

by Impact Staff
Dec 5 2017, 6:30pm

Illustration via Jean-Luc Bonifay

The U.S. has made leaps and bounds in expanding voting rights to different sectors of the American people, such as women, young voters and people of color. Milestones like the Voting Rights Act, have been essential to protecting and enforcing voting rights for more people and came as the result of years of organizing and vigilance. Another big win for expanding voter access for people on public assistance or with disabilities was the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

Voter registration has been notoriously difficult throughout American history and to this day it’s often used as a way to keep eligible voters from casting a ballot. It’s often taken for granted that most people can register to vote while on a routine trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to receive or renew their driver’s license, but before 1993 that wasn’t the case. According to the Department of Justice, President Clinton signed the NVRA as a way to it easier for all Americans to register to vote by allowing people sign up at the DMV.

In one section of the NVRA, the law requires states to offer voter registration at both public assistance and disability offices, which gives working class people and those with disabilities additional opportunities to sign up to vote.

This legislation was huge at the time because it made voter registry more accessible at a time when the internet didn’t exist as we know it today in which people can register to vote online. States have different laws for when people can register and participate in elections as well, but the NVRA tries to level the playing field by offering a registry location that most voters will visit between elections.

The right to vote is something that can’t be taken for granted. Make sure you're registered to vote so that you can have a say in your community and the nation is run. Then show up on Election Day in both local and federal races to make your vote count. VICE Impact has partnered with TurboVote to get people registered, sign up today to have an effect on tomorrow.