AP NEWS

House approves bill allowing voter registration at DMV

March 5, 2020 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s House on Thursday approved a bill that would allow residents to register to vote when they get or renew a driver’s license.

The bill would implement a system named the Secure Modern Accurate Registration Technology Act (SMART). When someone applies for or renews a driver’s license at the state Division of Motor Vehicles, they would automatically be registered to vote. A person could opt out of being registered.

The House voted 202 to 146 for the bill. It heads back to the Senate, where it originated last year.

The DMV would electronically transmit information to the secretary of state’s office,

Rep. Lynne Ober, a Republican from Hudson, said New Hampshire is a same-day voter registration state, not a “motor voter” state under the National Voter Registration Act requiring people to register when they get driver’s license. She said the bill “tries to marry the two together with no clear path for success.” She also said there were unknown costs to the secretary of state’s office.

Rep. Patricia Lovejoy, a Democrat from Stratham, said 21 states and the District of Columbia have adopted automatic voter registration. She also said funding from the Help America Vote Act would be used for the program.