Bill Summary for S 495 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Apr 2 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 495 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 2, 2019
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION AT DRIVERS LICENSE OFFICES, PUBLIC AGENCIES, COMMUNITY COLLEGES, AND COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA; TO REQUIRE THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO IMPLEMENT AN OUTREACH CAMPAIGN INFORMING CITIZENS ABOUT AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION; AND TO ALLOW INDIVIDUALS WHO MEET THE CRITERIA TO REGISTER TO VOTE OR CHANGE VOTER REGISTRATION ONLINE.
Intro. by Woodard, Clark, Lowe.

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Bill summary

Part I. Automatic Voter Registration

Amends GS 163A-862 and GS 163A-865 authorizing county boards of elections to accept automatic voter registration.

Amends GS 163A-883 to require, beginning January 1, 2020, the Division of Motor Vehicles, in consultation with the State Board of Elections, to develop and implement a method by which eligible individuals shall be automatically registered to vote.  Requires DMV officials taking driver's license applications to affirmatively inquire whether the applicant wishes to register to vote or update their registration, note the applicant's response, and register the applicant to vote if the applicant wishes.  The applicant must attest to the information provided for voter registration. Confidentiality of voter information must be maintained by the State Board of Elections.

The above provisions are effective January 1, 2020.

Amends GS 163A-884 to require, beginning January 1, 2021, voter registration agencies (which include state offices that accept applications for public assistance, services for persons with disabilities, and unemployment benefits) to provide, in consultation with the State Board of Elections, an application process for automatic voter registration with each recertification, renewal, or change of address relating to the service or assistance of the agency.  Specifies certain procedural requirements substantially similar to those provided for in GS 163A-883, as amended. Does not require an agency to provide automatic voter registration to a person with disability at the person's home. Requires electronic transmittal of applications to the appropriate board of elections.

Amends GS 163A-885 to authorize automatic voter registration at the time of restoration of citizenship, effective January 1, 2020. Further amends the statute to authorize online voter registration at the time of restoration of citizenship, effective January 1, 2021.

Amends GS 115D-5 and GS 116-11 to require, beginning January 1, 2021, the State Board of Community Colleges and the UNC Board of Governors, in consultation with the State Board of Elections, to provide each person enrolled and registering for courses as a student at a State community college or a State college or university in the UNC System the option for automatic voter registration. Specifies certain procedural requirements substantially similar to those provided for in GS 163A-883 and GS 163A-844, as amended. Provides that applications to register accepted by a State community college or constituent institution of UNC entitles a registrant to vote in any primary, general, or special election unless the registrant made application later than the 25th calendar day immediately preceding the election; permits continuing acceptance of applications during that period.

The above provisions are effective January 1, 2021.

Requires the State Board of Elections to develop education and outreach programs to inform voters of automatic registration procedures established by the act.

Part II. Online Voter Registration

Amends GS 163A-864 by adding the requirement that the State Board of Elections make the voter registration application forms available for completion and submission on a secure website.

Enacts new GS 163A-864.1 allowing an individual to register to vote or change voter registration online if the individual: (1) is eligible to register to vote and (2) possesses a current and valid North Carolina driver's license (including a learner's permit or provisional license) or a special identification card for nonoperators. Requires the State Board to establish a secure website for the completion and submission of voter registration applications. Specifies information that the website must allow an individual to submit, including information to establish eligibility and the individual's email address. Requires the county board of elections, upon receipt of an online application, to verify specified applicant information. Requires the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to transfer the applicant's digital signature in the DMV records to the State Board if the State Board verifies the driver's license or Social Security number. Requires the State Board to notify the applicant if the State Board cannot verify the driver's license or Social Security number.

Amends GS 163A-871 to add specified identifying information submitted during the online voter registration application process to the information that is confidential.

Effective December 1, 2019.

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