The League and the National Voter Registration Act - “Motor Voter Act” of 1993
Increased accessibility to the electoral process is essential to ensuring a representative electoral process and every citizen’s right to vote. The fight for the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) was long and arduous, but the League stayed the course.
In 1990, the League's grassroots campaign finally secured House passage of the NVRA, known as “motor-voter.” However, despite strong League lobbying, the Senate refused to bring the bill to the floor that fall. The effort to pass national motor-voter legislation intensified in the 102nd Congress, and in February 1991, the National Voter Registration Act of 1991 was introduced in the Senate. Leading a national coalition, the League spearheaded a high visibility, multifaceted, grassroots drive that secured House and Senate passage of NVRA in 1992. But, despite League pressure, the President vetoed the bill, and the Senate fell five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override that veto.
In 1993, the years of concerted effort by the League and other voting rights organizations finally paid off. Both houses of Congress passed voter registration reform legislation. President Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act in May 1993 and gave one of the pens used to sign the historic legislation to the LWVUS. He saluted the League and other pivotal supporters as "fighters for freedom" in the continuing effort to expand American democracy. The "motor-voter" bill enabled thousands of citizens to apply to register at motor vehicle agencies automatically, as well as by mail and at public and private agencies that service the public.