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Push For Automatic Voter Registration Gets New Life

Austen Diamond

Automatic voter registration is gaining traction in statehouses across the country. A bill making its way through the legislature could make it a reality in Utah. 

Sen. Deidre Henderson’s bill, S.B. 112, would automatically register Utahns to vote while getting a driver's license, unless they opt out. 

Credit Brennan Center For Justice
As of Dec. 2017, at least nine states and the District of Columbia, had AVR laws. More than two dozen others are considering it.

She said other states that have gone this route have seen a dramatic increase in participation.

“The practical side of me says let’s clear out arbitrary obstacles, let’s make sure that people have the option to exercise their fundamental rights — their constitutional rights — and at the same time streamline and modernize and update the process," Henderson said. 

The Senate Business and Labor Committee gave the bill a unanimously favorable recommendation. Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, is sponsoring a similar bill in the House.

An automatic voter registration bill passed the House last year, but later died in the Senate. Henderson said 28 of 29 county clerks support the effort. 

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