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Alabama to Comply With Federal Motor Voter Law

(CN) - The state of Alabama agreed to take a series of definitive steps to resolve claims it failed to provide voter registration opportunities when people signed up for new or renewed driver's licenses, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Section 5 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 -- the so-called "motor voter" provision -- requires states to provide voter registration opportunities for state and federal elections whenever people apply for or seek to renew driver's licenses or other identification documents.

The agency says an investigation by its civil rights division found widespread noncompliance with the provision's requirements in Alabama. Issues red flagged by the Justice Department investigators included applications for driver's licenses and other identification cards that did not also serve the dual purpose of voter registration.

In addition, investigators said, the procedures by which Alabama residents notified the state Department of Motor Vehicles did not serve as notification of a change of address for voter registration purposes.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alabama will fully integrate a voter registration opportunity into all applications for driver's licenses and other identification documents, including renewal applications, both in person and online.

The state will also ensure that change of address information submitted for driver's license purposes will be used to update voters' address information unless the voter declines to update her voter registration.

Additionally, in order to provide a voter registration opportunity for Alabama residents who did not receive one when they last applied for or renewed a driver's license or other identification document, the state will contact all eligible voters who are not currently registered to vote at their last known address.

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