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Press Release

Justice Department and the State of Arkansas Settle Claims over Opportunities to Update Voter Registration

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today that it has entered an agreement with the state of Arkansas to resolve claims that the state did not provide certain opportunities to update voter registration records as required by Section 5 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

Section 5 of the NVRA requires states to provide voter registration opportunities for federal elections when eligible citizens apply for or seek to renew their driver’s license or other identification documents through state motor vehicle offices. Section 5 also requires states to update voter registration records when registrants update the address associated with a driver’s license or other identification document, unless the registrant indicates otherwise.

The Justice Department’s investigation found that Arkansas did not comply with certain NVRA address-update requirements. Procedures by which citizens notified motor vehicle authorities online or by mail that their address had changed did not serve as notification of a change of address for voter registration purposes, as the NVRA requires.

“Since our founding as a republic, the right to vote has distinguished the United States from undemocratic regimes around the world. Dictators, monarchs, emperors, and tyrants have no place here.  We rule ourselves. One way we do so is by making sure that voter registration information is accurate,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division commends the state of Arkansas for working with the division to ensure that Arkansas’s citizens have the opportunity to update their voter registration information easily and conveniently through motor vehicle agencies, as required by the National Voter Registration Act.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Arkansas will ensure that all change of address information submitted for driver’s license purposes will be used to update voters’ address information, unless voters decline to update their voter registration.  

More information about the NVRA and other federal voting rights laws is available on the Department of Justice website at Complaints about voter registration practices may be reported to the Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

Updated August 9, 2021

Civil Rights
Voting and Elections
Press Release Number: 20-422