FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
THURSDAY, JULY 18, 1996                            (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The State of Vermont has agreed to begin
complying with a law that simplifies voter registration, the
Justice Department announced today.
     Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known
as the Motor-Voter law, most states were required by January 1995,
to provide voter registration for federal elections at motor
vehicle offices and other state agencies as well as through the
     Vermont, and two other states, were provided additional time
to comply in order to amend their state constitutions to eliminate
alleged inconsistencies with federal law.  Vermont claimed it had
until March 1999, but the Justice Department disagreed.
     Under the agreement, approved today by Judge J. Garvan Murtha
of the U.S. District Court in Burlington, the State has agreed to
substantially comply with the law by August 15, in time for the
upcoming Presidential elections.  
     "Millions of Americans already are benefitting from this
common sense law; now residents of Vermont will be able to benefit
as well," said Attorney General Janet Reno.
     Today's action enables the Justice Department to join a
private suit filed by a group of voting rights advocates last year. 
That suit is settled by the agreement.
     Vermont previously required residents to take a voter's oath
in person, and claimed that residents who mailed in registration
forms without doing so would be skirting this requirement.  Under
the agreement, residents who have not taken the oath when they mail
in their registration form will be able to take the oath in person
on the day they vote.
     The Justice Department has successfully defended the
constitutionality of the National Voter Registration Act in
California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan and South
     Voting rights groups say that more than 11 million Americans
have registered under the new procedures during the first year of
the law.
     Vermont, which had already begun taking steps to comply, will
launch a publicity campaign to inform residents about the new ways
they can register to vote.
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