In the current political climate, it’s more important than ever to ensure that progress on voting rights does not put noncitizens at risk.  That means that our system of AVR needs to be as bulletproof as possible, ensuring the voter rolls are accurate and up-to-date while minimizing the opportunity for human error.

After consultation with leading lawyers and immigration rights activists, AVR NOW has determined that Oregon’s model of back-end automatic voter registration would do the most to increase registration in New York while protecting immigrants who are ineligible to vote from being added to the rolls.

The Oregon back-end model relies on identification that individuals provide at a state agency to determine whether or not they’re eligible to vote.  This takes much of the opportunity for human error out of the equation.   As a result, Oregon’s error rate is nearly non-existent, with only four verified errors out of more than one million registrations, nearly all in the first few months of the program.  

New York is a large, exceptionally diverse state, so it’s important for us to get the details right, which means embracing a system that maximizes registration while also protecting immigrants.

In addition to adopting the Oregon model, AVR NOW believes that New York should adopt legislative language specifically protecting undocumented immigrants. Such language was included in AVR measures in New Jersey, Massachusetts and elsewhere.  

For more information, see this memo from Henry Berger.