Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

"Motor Voter" Mandate Goes to Full Senate

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

"Motor Voter" Mandate Goes to Full Senate

Article excerpt

The Senate Rules and Administration Committee last week voted 7-5 to pass and send to the full Senate motor voter legislation (HR 2), which would permit citizens to register to vote at motor vehicle departments, but would also mandate states and local governments to prrovide for mail-in registration. The Committee rejected efforts to make the program voluntary and provide federal reimbursement for unfunded, mandated costs on states and local governments.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (RKy) indicated a major effort would be led by Senate Republicans to amend the bill to provide incentives of grants to encourage voluntary participation by states and local governments. NLC supports voluntary participation or federal funding to compensate unfunded federal mandates.

The full Senate could take the bill up as early as this week. President Clinton, in his address to the joint session of Congress on February 17, urged prompt action on the measure.

The bill would mandate states and local governments to set up procedures to register voters and mandate changes in the way most cities and towns maintain lists of eligible voters effective January 1, 1995. Former President Bush vetoed nearly identical legislation last year.

Under the bill, state and municipal governments would be required to provide registration in person at many offces, such as libraries and schools.

Municipal governments would also be required to accept registration through the mail and would be prohibited from removing a voter's name from the registration list for failing to vote. …

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