September 20, 2022

On National Voter Registration Day, Gillibrand Calls For Legislation To Make Registering To Vote Easier For All Americans

On National Voter Registration Day, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for two pieces of legislation that would make it easier for Americans to register to vote and to know their registration status. The Same Day Voter Registration Act would require states to offer same-day registration at polling locations on Election Day and during early voting. The Stop Automatically Voiding Eligible Voters Off Their Enlisted Rolls in States (SAVE VOTERS) Act would prohibit states from removing people from their voting rolls unless the state has obtained objective, reliable evidence that a voter is ineligible to vote and establishes notification requirements once a voter is removed. These bills were introduced and led by Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) and included as part of the Freedom to Vote Act, voting rights legislation supported by all Democratic senators.

“As states continue to create new barriers to the ballot box, Congress needs to do much more to protect disenfranchised voters and their sacred right to vote. These two essential pieces of legislation would take much-needed steps to strengthen the integrity of our elections and ensure that voting is equal, fair, and accessible for all Americans,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As the leader of the Voter Empowerment Act, I am firmly committed to continuing the great work of the late Congressman John Lewis to make voting rights the highest priority and to ensure no person in our nation is discriminated against at the ballot box.”  

The Same Day Voter Registration Act would: 

  • Require states to offer same day registration at polling locations on Election Day and during any early voting period; 
  • Require states to offer same day registration at all polling places by the 2026 general election, but create a waiver process to give states until the 2028 general election to comply if earlier compliance would be impracticable.
  • Mandate that states have at least one location per 15,000 registered voters with same day registration by the 2024 general election; and
  • Ensure that centralized same day registration locations are reasonably located to serve the voting population equitably. 

Along with Senator Gillibrand, the Same Day Voter Registration Act is cosponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Angus King (I-ME), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The SAVE VOTERS Act would:

  • Amend the National Voter Registration Act to prohibit states from removing people from voting rolls unless the state has obtained objective and reliable evidence that a person is ineligible to vote. The legislation would clarify that failure to vote or respond to election mail would not constitute objective and reliable evidence of a voter’s ineligibility to vote;
  • Allow election officials to use state records to remove voters who have died or permanently moved out of the state;
  • Require election officials to send a notice explaining the grounds for removal within 48 hours of removing voters from the rolls and provide public notice within 48 hours after any general program to remove voters; and
  • Revise the voting procedure for a voter who failed to report a change of address by allowing a voter who moved within a state to vote at the polling place of the voter's current address or at a central location in the jurisdiction of the local voter registration office.

Along with Senator Gillibrand, the Save Voters Act is cosponsored by Senators Wyden, Markey, Merkley, Warren, Casey, Smith, Van Hollen, Blumenthal, Sanders, Hirono, Booker, Murphy, Kaine, Menendez, and King.

Both bills are endorsed by Democracy 21, Transparency International U.S., End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund, Common Cause, Public Citizen, People for the American Way, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, 20/20 Vision DC, Voices for Progress, and League of Women Voters.

Senator Gillibrand is a champion of voting rights in the Senate. Following the passing of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Reverend Raphael Warnock, and U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn and Congresswoman Nikema Williams announced the reintroduction of the bicameral Voter Empowerment Act, legislation originally authored by Lewis. This legislation would help protect the voting rights of people across the country by ensuring equal access to the ballot for every eligible voter, modernizing voter registration, and helping to eliminate deceptive practices that deter people from voting. The Voter Empowerment Act is a cornerstone of the For the People Act, a transformational voting rights, anti-corruption and clean elections reform package.