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NVRA Compliance Agency Responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

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Presentation on theme: "NVRA Compliance Agency Responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993."— Presentation transcript:

1 NVRA Compliance Agency Responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993

2 Compliance is Mandatory The NVRA is a federal law designed to increase citizens’ access to voter registration opportunities. Under the NVRA, the State’s voter registration agencies MUST offer voter registration services to each person applying for service or assistance, renewing or recertifying eligibility, or submitting a change of address. The State’s voter registration agencies include: –Local department of social services units providing Temporary Cash Assistance, Medicaid, and Food Stamps; –WIC offices; –Local offices of the Maryland Children's Health Program under the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; –All offices primarily engaged in providing State-funded services to individuals with disabilities, including the Maryland Transit Administration Paratransit Certification Office; –Recruitment offices of the armed forces of the United States; –Offices on aging; and –Offices for students with disabilities at private and public colleges and universities.* *Note – Special requirements apply to the Motor Vehicle Administration, marriage license offices of the clerks of court, and public institutions of higher education. This PowerPoint does not cover those requirements, which can be found at COMAR et seq.

3 Applications for Benefits, Recertifications or Renewals, and Address Changes A voter registration application and a declination form must be provided with each application for service or assistance and with each recertification, renewal, or change-of-address form relating to that service or assistance. Unless the applicant refuses assistance, the same level of assistance that is provided in the completion of the agency’s own application forms, including bilingual services when necessary, must be provided in completing a voter registration application and/or declination form. Voter registration services must be provided even if the interaction with the client is remote (e.g., by phone, internet, or mail).

4 Prohibited Activities Personnel may not: Seek to influence an applicant's political preference or party registration; Display any political or candidate preference or party allegiance; Make any statement or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to discourage the applicant from registering to vote; or Make any statement or take any action the purpose or effect of which is to lead the applicant to believe that a decision to register or not to register has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits.

5 Confidentiality No information relating to a declination to register to vote may be used for any purpose other than voter registration. The particular agency through which an individual registered may not be publicly disclosed.

6 Declination Forms A declination form must be provided with each application for service or assistance and with each recertification, renewal, or change-of-address form relating to that service or assistance. A sample declination form may be obtained from the State Board of Elections. The declination form must include: –the question, “If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register to vote here today?”; –if the agency provides public assistance, the statement, “Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency.”; –boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether the applicant would like to register or declines to register to vote (failure to check either box being deemed to constitute a declination to register), together with the statement (in close proximity to the boxes and in prominent type), “IF YOU DO NOT CHECK EITHER BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER TO VOTE AT THIS TIME.”; –the statement, “If you would like help in filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private.”; and –the statement, “If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or to decline to register to vote, your right to privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, or your right to choose your own political party or other political preference, you may file a complaint with the State Board of Elections, P.O. Box 6486, Annapolis, MD , ” Completed declination forms must be retained by the agency for at least 22 months after the federal election to which the registration would first apply.

7 Registration Assistance The agency must provide to each applicant who does not decline to register to vote the same degree of assistance with completing the voter registration application as is provided by the agency with regard to the completion of its own forms, unless the applicant refuses such assistance. Applicants who are interested in registering should be encouraged to complete the voter registration application at the office to help ensure that it is turned in.

8 Transmitting Completed Applications to the Board of Elections Each voter registration agency must accept completed voter registration applications for transmittal to the appropriate election board. An applicant also has the option of mailing the voter registration application to the appropriate local election official or returning it to the agency for transmittal to the appropriate election official after completing it elsewhere. Within 5 days from the acceptance of a voter registration application, the agency must forward the application to the appropriate board of election. In order to facilitate required reporting, the agency must submit applications to the appropriate board of election using a transmittal form indicating the voter registration agency’s identity. A sample transmittal form may be obtained from the State Board of Elections. The agency also must ensure that it uses only voter registration applications that contain the NVRA logo.

9 Signs and Voter Registration Applications in Waiting Rooms Each voter registration agency should maintain an adequate supply of voter registration applications in an accessible and visible location in client waiting areas. The State Board of Elections has plastic voter registration application holders. The agency also should display signs in waiting areas indicating (1) that voter registration forms are available, (2) that completed forms may be left with the office for forwarding to election officials, and (3) that assistance is available with completing the forms. Each agency also should post in its waiting areas the State Board of Elections’ “Register to Vote Here” posters. To obtain the plastic holders, posters, and a sample sign, contact Mary Cramer Wagner, Director, Voter Registration Division, State Board of Elections.

10 Ordering Voter Registration Applications Each voter registration agency is responsible for ensuring that each local office has an adequate supply of voter registration applications. Do not wait until applications run out to request new ones. When ordering voter registration applications from the State Board of Elections or the local boards of election, it is important to expressly request forms containing the NVRA logo. The presence of the logo assists the State Board of Elections with maintaining federally required voter registration data.

11 NVRA Coordinator Duties Each voter registration agency is required to have a NVRA Coordinator. The NVRA Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the agency’s compliance with the NVRA. The NVRA Coordinator must maintain a list of the agency’s NVRA Site Coordinators; answer agency questions on NVRA procedures; monitor NVRA compliance (including collecting and analyzing data on the agency’s NVRA activities) and oversee any necessary corrective action plans; serve as a liaison with the State Board of Elections; ensure that the agency is meeting the NVRA’s recordkeeping requirements; ensure that local offices have adequate supplies of voter registration applications and declination forms; and ensure that staff, including any volunteers, are trained on their NVRA duties.

12 NVRA Site Coordinator Duties Each local office that provides voter registration services must have a NVRA Site Coordinator. The NVRA Site Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the office’s compliance with the NVRA. The Site Coordinator’s duties include recordkeeping in accordance with the NVRA; ensuring that staff, including any volunteers, have been trained on their NVRA duties; acting as a liaison with the agency’s NVRA Coordinator and the local boards of elections; ensuring that the office has an adequate supply of voter registration applications and declination forms; and ensuring that completed voter registration forms are forwarded to the appropriate election officials in a timely manner.

13 Questions If you have any questions, contact: Mary Cramer Wagner Maryland State Board of Elections Director, Voter Registration Division 151 West Street, Suite 200 Annapolis, Maryland (410)


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