The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) (52 U.S.C. §§ 20501–20511) (formerly 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973gg–1973gg-10), also known as the Motor Voter Act, is a United States federal law signed into law by President Bill Clinton on May 20, 1993, and which came into effect on January 1, 1995. The law was enacted under the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution. The law advances voting rights in the United States by requiring state governments to offer voter registration opportunities to any eligible person who applies for or renews a driver license or applies for public assistance along with requiring the United States Postal Service to mail election materials of a state as if the state is a nonprofit. The law requires states to register applicants that use a federal voter registration form to apply and prohibits states from removing registered voters from the voter rolls unless certain criteria are met.
The Act exempts from its requirements the states that have continuously, since March 11, 1993, not required voter registration for federal elections or that have offered Election Day voter registration (EDR) for federal general elections. Six states qualify for exemption from the Act: North Dakota (which does not require registration), Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Maine lost the exemption when it abolished EDR in 2011, although EDR was subsequently restored in that state.
This summary is from Wikipedia.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 28, 1993.
National Voter Registration Act of 1993 - Requires each State to establish Federal election voter registration procedures by: (1) application made simultaneously with a driver's license application; (2) mail; and (3) application in person at a designated Federal, State, or nongovernmental office, or at the applicant's residential registration site in accordance with State law. Declares that this Act does not apply to any State that has no voter registration requirement with respect to elections for Federal office and/or in which voters may register at the polling place at the time of a general election for Federal office. (Sec. 5) Declares that each State motor vehicle license application (or renewal application) shall simultaneously serve as a voter registration application with respect to Federal elections, unless the applicant fails to sign the voter registration application. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) forms and procedures; and (2) transmittal deadlines. (Sec. 6) Requires each State to use the mail voter registration application form prescribed by the Federal Election Commission (Commission). Authorizes a State to develop its own form provided it meets the requirements of this Act. Authorizes a State to require first-time voters to vote in person, with exceptions for overseas and handicapped or elderly persons. Authorizes the removal of a voter application in the case of an undelivered (returned) notice of an application made by mail. (Sec. 7) Requires each State to designate voter registration agencies including: (1) all State offices that provide public assistance, unemployment compensation, or disability services; (2) State or local government offices; (3) Federal and nongovernmental offices (upon their agreement); and (4) armed forces recruitment offices. (Sec. 8) Requires each State to: (1) assure that any eligible applicant who submits an application by a certain deadline is registered to vote in the election; (2) require the appropriate State election official to notify each applicant of the disposition of the application; (3) provide that the name of a voter may not be removed from the official list of eligible voters except by reason of death, criminal conviction, mental incapacity, change in residence, or voter request; (4) inform applicants of voter eligibility requirements and penalties provided by law for submission of a false voter registration application; (5) conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove from the official lists any voters ineligible by reason of death or change of address; and (6) ensure tht the identity of any voter registration agency where a particular voter registered is not publicly disclosed. Provides that any State program or activity to protect the integrity of the electoral process by assuring an accurate and current voter registration roll for elections for Federal office shall: (1) be uniform and nondiscriminatory; and (2) not result in the removal of the name of any person from the official list of registered voters for failing to vote. Prohibits a State from removing the name of a voter from the official list of eligible voters for Federal elections on the grounds that the registrant has moved, unless such registrant: (1) confirms in writing that he or she has changed residence to a place outside the jurisdiction of the registrar; or (2) has failed to respond to a notice from the registrar and has not appeared to vote and, if necessary, correct the address in an election during a certain period. Provides for the opportunity to vote of a person who has changed address without properly notifying the registrar. States that in the event of a change of address, for voting purposes, of a voter to another address within the same jurisdiction, the registrar shall correct the voting registration list accordingly. Prohibits such voter's name from being removed from the registry of eligible voters by reason of such change of address, except as provided in this Act. Requires the United States attorney to give the chief State election official written notice of an offender's felony conviction in Federal district court. Amends Federal postal rate law to require the Postal Service to make certain lower postal rates available to State or local election officials who certify that a mailing is in furtherance of this Act. Requires the States to maintain for public disclosure, for a minimum two-year period, all records pertaining to the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters. (Sec. 9) Directs the Commission to: (1) develop a mail voter registration application form for Federal elections; (2) submit to the Congress not later than June 30 of each odd-numbered year a report assessing the impact of this Act on the administration of Federal elections during the preceding two-year period; and (3) provide information to the States with respect to their responsibilities. (Sec. 10) Requires each State to designate a chief State election official to coordinate State functions under this Act. (Sec. 11) Provides a private right of action for an individual aggrieved by a violation of this Act. (Sec. 12) Imposes criminal penalties upon any person who: (1) intimidates, threatens, or coerces any person for registering or voting or exercising any right under this Act; or (2) deprives or defrauds the inhabitants of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process. (Sec. 13) Sets forth the effective date of this Act.