[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 120 (Thursday, June 23, 1994)]
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From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-15199]


Federal Register / Vol. 59, No. 120 / Thursday, June 23, 1994 /

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: June 23, 1994]


                                                   VOL. 59, NO. 120

                                            Thursday, June 23, 1994

FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION

11 CFR Part 8

[Notice 1994-8]

 

National Voter Registration Act of 1993

AGENCY: Federal Election Commission.

ACTION: Final rules.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Election Commission is promulgating regulations 
governing the national mail registration form and recordkeeping and 
reporting requirements under the National Voter Registration Act of 
1993 (``NVRA'' or ``the Act'').

DATES: These rules will take effect July 25, 1994.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ms. Susan E. Propper, Assistant General Counsel, 999 E Street, NW., 
Washington, DC 20463, (202) 219-3690 or 1-800-242-9530.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under section 9 of the National Voter 
Registration Act of 1993, Public Law 103-31, 197 Stat. 77, 42 U.S.C. 
1973gg-1 et seq., the Federal Election Commission is required to 
develop a national mail voter registration form (``form'') for 
elections to Federal office, and to submit to Congress no later than 
June 30 of each odd-numbered year (beginning June 30, 1995), a report 
that assesses the impact of the Act and recommends improvements in 
Federal and state procedures, forms, and other matters affected by the 
Act. 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-7(a). The Commission has no interpretive 
authority beyond these areas, and no enforcement powers under the NVRA.
    On September 30, 1993, the Commission published an Advance Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (``ANPRM'') to gain general guidance from the 
regulated community and other interested persons on how best to carry 
out these responsibilities. 58 FR 51132. The Commission received 65 
comments from 63 commenters in response to the ANPRM. In addition, the 
Commission's National Clearinghouse on Election Administration 
conducted surveys of state election officials to obtain information on 
state laws and procedures that impact on Commission responsibilities 
under the NVRA.
    The Commission published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (``NPRM'') 
on March 10, 1994 to seek comments from the regulated community and 
other interested parties on the specific items of information that it 
proposed to include on the mail registration form, and on the specific 
items of information that it proposed be required from the states to 
carry out the Act's reporting requirements. 59 FR 11211. 108 comments 
were received in response to this notice.
    Several of the comments addressed issues outside the Commission's 
rulemaking authority. The Commission's rulemaking authority does not, 
for example, extend to superseding regulations of the U.S. Postal 
Service, to revising specific state voter eligibility requirements, or 
to interpreting how decisions on the national form affect state voter 
registration forms.
    In addition to the comments received, the Commission conducted 
several surveys of state election officials to ascertain whether or not 
they plan to develop and use their own state mail and agency 
registration forms (or use the national form), and to clarify certain 
state voter registration requirements and procedures. These surveys are 
also part of the rulemaking record on which the final rules are based.
    The Commission notes that this rulemaking does not apply to states 
where, on and after March 11, 1993, there was no voter registration 
requirement for any voter in the state with respect to an election for 
Federal office, or all voters in the state may register to vote at the 
polling place at the time of voting in the general election for Federal 
office, because such states are exempt from complying with provisions 
of the National Voter Registration Act under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-2(b).

Statement of Basis and Purpose

    The Commission is charged with developing a single national form, 
to be accepted by all covered jurisdictions, that complies with the 
NVRA, and that: Contains all elements necessary for jurisdictions to 
determine voter qualification and to administer voter registration and 
other parts of the election process (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-7(b)(1)); 
specifies each eligibility requirement (including citizenship) (42 
U.S.C 1973gg-7(b)(2)(A)); contains an attestation that the applicant 
meets each such requirement (42 U.S.C 1973gg-7(b)(2)(B)); and requires 
the signature of the applicant, under penalty of perjury (42 U.S.C 
1973gg-7(b)(2)(C)).
    In addition, 42 U.S.C 1973gg-7(a)(3) requires the Commission to 
submit to the Congress not later than June 30 of each odd-numbered year 
a report assessing the impact of the NVRA on the administration of 
elections for Federal office during the preceding 2-year period. The 
report shall also include recommendations for improvements in Federal 
and state forms, procedures, and other matters affected by the Act.

General Provisions

    Section 8.1 of the final rules summarizes the purpose and scope of 
this new part of the Code of Federal Regulations.
    Section 8.2 defines various terms used in this part. Paragraph (a) 
defines ``form'' as the national mail voter registration application 
form, which includes the registration application, accompanying general 
instructions for completing the application, and state-specific 
instructions.
    Comments received in response to the NPRM suggested a number of 
minor revisions to this definition. Some of the comments were directed 
at ensuring the application could be separate from the instructions and 
that the application could be reproduced. The issues of separate 
applications and the reproduction of applications are addressed below 
in Section E ``Production of Forms'', rather than in the definition.
    Paragraph (b) defines ``Chief State Election Official'' as the 
designated state officer or employee responsible for the coordination 
of state responsibilities under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-8. This is the same 
definition proposed in the NPRM and no comments were received.
    Paragraph (c) defines ``Active voters'' to mean all registered 
voters except those who have been sent but have not responded to a 
confirmation mailing sent in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-6(d) and 
have not since offered to vote. Paragraph (d) defines ``Inactive 
voters'' to mean registrants who have been sent but have not responded 
to a confirmation mailing sent in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-6(d) 
and have not since offered to vote.
    Several commenters questioned the definitions of ``active'' and 
``inactive'' voter. According to the NVRA's legislative history, states 
may designate registrants, under certain circumstances, as 
``inactive''. See, e.g. S. Rep. No. 6, 103d Cong., 1st Sess. 33 (1993). 
The term ``inactive'' as used in the legislative history refers to 
registrants who have neither responded to the confirmation mailing 
required in 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-6(d) nor since offered to vote. The term 
``active'', therefore, encompasses all registered voters except those 
who have been declared ``inactive''.
    Paragraph (e) defines ``Duplicate registration application''. 
Several commenters to the NPRM expressed concern that the proposed 
definition of duplicate registration could be construed to include 
registration applications that have been submitted to inform the 
election official of important changes to a registrant's information. 
The Commission, therefore, modified the definition to mean an offer to 
register by a person already registered to vote at the same address, 
under the same name, and (where applicable) in the same political 
party.
    New paragraph (f) defines ``State'' to mean a state of the United 
States and the District of Columbia not exempt from coverage under 42 
U.S.C. 1973gg-2(b).
    New paragraph (g) defines ``Closed primary state'' to mean a state 
that requires party registration as a precondition to vote for partisan 
races in primary elections, or to participate in other nominating 
processes such as political party caucuses or conventions. Some 
commenters expressed concern that the term ``closed primary'' is not 
universally understood and could confuse the applicant. The term, 
therefore, is used in the final rules for the sake of convenience but 
will not be included in the instructions for the national form.

The National Mail Voter Registration Form

    In developing the regulations for the national form, the Commission 
considered what items are deemed necessary to determine eligibility to 
register to vote and what items are deemed necessary to administer 
voter registration and other parts of the election process in each 
state. The Commission also considered how to accommodate such 
administrative and legal requirements as electronic imaging, additional 
information space for office use, and the bilingual provisions of the 
Voting Rights Act (``VRA''). Finally, the Commission considered what 
layout and format would best meet the requirements of the NVRA, the 
administrative needs of election officials, and the Commission's goal 
of a form that is as ``user friendly'' and clear as possible to the 
applicant.

I. Items To Be Included on the Form

    Some comments in response to the NPRM suggested that the 
regulations clearly state which items are required and which are 
optional. The final rules indicate which items are only requested 
(optional) and which are required only by certain states and under 
certain circumstances (such as the declaration of party affiliation in 
order to participate in partisan nominating procedures in certain 
states). The remaining items, by inference, are considered to be 
required for registration in all covered states. In making this 
determination, however, the Commission expresses no opinion on whether 
or not election officials may process applications when applicants fail 
to complete any of the required items, as this is beyond its authority 
under the Act.
    The Commission has determined that the following information items 
are necessary to assess the eligibility of the applicant or to 
administer voter registration or other parts of the election process, 
and thus has included them on the national mail voter registration form 
as specified at 11 CFR 8.4.

A. Full Name of Applicant

    Paragraph 8.4(a)(1) requires the applicant's name (last name first, 
then first name, and then the middle name) and the inclusion of an area 
for designating any suffix to the name (such as Jr., Sr., II, III, or 
IV). No commenters opposed this approach.
    The NPRM also sought comments on the desirability of requesting 
gender on the application. In response to commenters requesting that 
the form ask the applicant's gender to assist in voter identification 
in cases of ambiguous or similar names, paragraph 8.4(a)(1) includes an 
optional prefix. The Commission intends to provide an area on the 
national application where the applicant may choose to circle the 
appropriate prefix (such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss).

B. Former Name, If Applicable

    In order to facilitate the maintenance of accurate voter 
registration records, paragraph 8.4(c) of the final rules includes on 
the form a field for this information. The form will also contain 
instructions explaining that if the application is to be used to report 
a change of name, then the applicant should complete both the 
application and item B on a detachable portion of the application. No 
comments were received opposing this provision.

C. Address Where You Live

    The NPRM proposed that the applicant be required to provide a 
complete residential address. Many commenters supported this proposal 
in its entirety. The NPRM also proposed that the form include an area 
in the detachable portion of the application for applicants to sketch a 
map identifying the physical location of their residence in cases where 
street names, numbers, or rural route box numbers alone are 
insufficient. There was no opposition to this proposal.
    However, the NPRM would have required the national form to include 
an instruction not to use rural route numbers for residential address. 
One state election official noted that rural route with a box number 
was as acceptable for residence address as street address with house 
number. In response to a survey, several others agreed with this 
comment. Another election official noted that a locational map would 
still be needed for rural route addresses to identify the applicant's 
election district because the box number may be physically located 
across the street from the dwelling and the street may serve as the 
dividing line for local election districts. A representative of the 
U.S. Postal Service confirmed that the post office is assigning box 
numbers to all rural routes and star routes.
    Paragraph 8.4(a)(2), therefore, contains modified language to note 
that a rural route with box number is an acceptable residential 
address. Paragraph 8.4(c) continues to provide a place for applicants 
to draw a simple locational map. While rural or star route numbers are 
sufficient residential addresses if they include a box number, 
applicants in rural areas will still need to complete the locational 
map in order that they may be placed in the proper election districts. 
The instructions will note that this map also may be used by 
individuals with non-traditional residences (such as those living on 
city streets) to show where they live.

D. Address Where You Get Your Mail (If Different from the Address Where 
You Live)

    The NPRM proposed that the applicant's mailing address be included 
if it is different from the physical address. No objections were 
received to this proposal. This information would be provided by 
applicants with post office boxes, rural or star routes without box 
numbers, and mailing addresses for non-traditional residences. 
Paragraph 8.4(a)(3), however, has been modified to reference rural and 
star routes without box numbers because those with box numbers are now 
considered acceptable for residential address.

E. Former Address, If Applicable

    The NVRA requires at 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-4(a) that the national form 
be usable as a change of address form as well as an original 
registration application. In addition, the states have indicated that 
the applicant's former address is necessary on new registrations to 
facilitate canceling prior registrations. The NPRM proposed that the 
form include instructions explaining that if the application is used 
for a new registration or change of address, then the applicant should 
provide in the detachable portion of the application the former address 
at which he or she was registered. There were no objections to this 
proposal; accordingly, this provision is retained in paragraph 8.4(c) 
of the final rules.

F. Date of Birth

    Since there were no objections to requiring the date of the 
applicant's birth as proposed in the NPRM, paragraph 8.4(a)(4) of the 
final rules continues to require the applicant's date of birth on the 
form in the standard month-day-year sequence.

G. Telephone Number (Optional)

    Although not absolutely necessary, the applicant's telephone number 
is thought to be necessary or desirable by most of the election 
officials responding to a state survey, primarily as a means to enable 
registrars to clarify or complete required items of information by 
telephone rather than rejecting questionable applications outright. The 
NPRM proposed that the form request the applicant's telephone number as 
an optional item, so as to avoid undue intrusion into the applicant's 
privacy.
    There were a few objections to this proposal. One commenter wanted 
the phone number to be mandatory and another wanted the Commission to 
exclude this element. A third commenter wanted the form to designate 
``daytime'' or ``evening'' phone number. For the reasons listed above, 
paragraph 8.4(a)(5) of the final rules continues to request the 
telephone number as an optional item, permitting the applicant to 
decide which number is appropriate.

H. Voter Identification Number (for States That Require or Request It)

    States currently use voter identification numbers in the 
administration of voter registration to assist in identifying name 
changes for individuals already registered; to differentiate between 
individuals of the same or similar name and the same birth date to 
prevent duplicate registrations; to identify registrants who have moved 
within a jurisdiction and facilitate the transfer of change of address 
information from motor vehicle and agency registration sites; and to 
combat voter fraud through removal of registrants who are no longer 
eligible to vote in a particular jurisdiction. The identification 
number is also the primary key for many computer operations related to 
the administration of elections (such as voter registration and review 
of ballot access petitions), without which staff would have to enter 
significantly more information or run through several iterations of an 
operation to find the record of a particular individual, slowing the 
process and increasing the possibility of duplicate registrations.
    The issue of requesting or requiring an identification number from 
voter registration applicants raises difficult questions. The ANPRM 
sought comment on the alternative of requiring only the last four 
digits of the applicant's social security number as a means of meeting 
privacy concerns while still allowing the use of these numbers for 
identification purposes. State and local election officials, however, 
made compelling arguments in support of the need for full voter 
identification numbers. They argued that the last four digits were 
insufficient to differentiate between individuals, particularly in 
large areas with highly mobile populations where the incidence of 
individuals having the same or very similar last four digits increases. 
Several also contended that the last four digits do not provide a 
sufficient identifier for use with a number of established automated 
voter registries, driver's license records, and other agency records.
    The Commission was also concerned that requiring only the last four 
digits would arbitrarily impose on the states an identification system 
that might conflict with current state needs and practices, and 
ultimately conflict with future individual identification systems 
currently under discussion or development in the public and private 
sectors. The NPRM proposed that the application provide a field for 
whatever identification number might be required or requested from the 
applicant's state of residence. The general instructions would direct 
the applicant to the instructions for that state, where the request or 
requirement would be identified.
    A number of commenters, primarily election officials, supported 
this proposal. These commenters repeated arguments originally made in 
response to the ANPRM on the need for the full social security or other 
identification number in the administration of voter registration and 
other parts of the election process.
    Commenters who opposed it felt that the requirement should either 
be eliminated or simplified by requiring only the last four digits of 
the social security number. Some commenters protested that the proposed 
procedure would be onerous because it would require the applicant to 
look up the appropriate state requirements and provide a number that 
might not be easily remembered. Some argued that the number cannot be 
deemed necessary because only a minority of states currently require 
it. Others were concerned about confidentiality issues associated with 
providing a social security number for records that may be accessible 
to the public. One commenter expressed concern that the Commission's 
proposal would encourage states that do not now request a voter 
identification number to begin doing so.
    While only 13 states may and do require the applicant to provide 
their full social security number under provisions of the Federal 
Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a note), 21 others (including some 
states that do not now request such information) stated in response to 
a Commission survey that they consider the social security number or 
other number such as the driver's license number either necessary or 
desirable for the administration of voter registration. Some states 
prohibited by the Privacy Act from requiring the social security number 
find that by requesting it, the majority of registrants will provide 
the number, thereby facilitating the maintenance of accurate voter 
registration records.
    Seventeen states currently do not request or require such an 
identification number, but most of these have relied upon place of 
birth information to assist them in distinguishing between individuals 
with similar names and the same date of birth. As noted below, final 
rules will exclude place of birth from the national form; therefore, 
that information will not be available when applicants use the national 
form. Such states may thus turn to requesting a voter identification 
number, in lieu of place of birth. Some are considering the use of an 
identification number to facilitate the automated transfer of change of 
address information from motor vehicle offices and agencies designated 
to register voters.
    Voter identification numbers are not necessary for determining the 
eligibility of the applicant. Nevertheless, a field for this number has 
been included on the application because a majority of states indicated 
that it is necessary to effectively administer the voter registration 
process. The Privacy Act permits (and federal courts have upheld) 
states' rights to require the social security number for voter 
registration records if the state had required it by statute or 
regulation prior to January 1, 1975; and the Public Health and Welfare 
Code (42 U.S.C. 405) permits agencies that are required to be or that 
may be designated as voter registration sites under the NVRA (such as 
state motor vehicle, general public assistance, and tax offices) to 
require social security numbers for their records administration.
    Paragraph 8.4(a)(6) retains the provision referring applicants to 
their particular state's requirements for an identification number 
because the Privacy Act permits some states to require the full social 
security number while others may only request it; some states may 
choose some other number such as a driver's license number; and some 
states will be satisfied with the last four digits of the social 
security number. The Commission will make the instructions as simple as 
possible to reduce any potential confusion.
    While some commenters expressed concern about the issue of 
maintaining the confidentiality of social security numbers, the 
Commission believes that this is best life to the states and courts who 
have begun to address the matter.

I. Political Party Preference (for States Where it is Required to 
Participate in Partisan Nominating Procedures)

    The NPM proposed that a field be provided for applicants to declare 
political party preference when registering in states that require this 
information in order to participate in partisan nominating processes. 
Applicants completing the form would have been directed to consult the 
accompanying instructions for their state of residence to determine 
whether their state requires this designation, and if so, how to 
determine whether their preferred political party is recognized in 
their state, and to offer ``unaffiliated'' as an alternative to 
designating a political party.
    Many commenters supported this proposal, but others objected to 
certain aspects. Some commenters objected to the proposal that 
applicants telephone the state election office to determine if a 
particular party was recognized. Their suggested solutions included 
modifying the instructions to list qualified political parties by state 
and providing the state election official's telephone number for 
information on parties that qualified after the booklet was printed. In 
addition, some commenters suggested that ``no party registration'' or 
``none'' would be more easily understood than ``unaffiliated''.
    The Commission, while sensitive to these concerns, has determined 
that it would be inadvisable to list parties currently recognized by 
each state, both because such recognition may be removed and because 
other parties may be recognized subsequently. On the other hand, having 
applicants call for information on newly qualified parties requires an 
additional step in the registration process. Furthermore, the 
Commission notes that the telephone numbers of state election offices 
often change over short periods of time, a fact which would necessitate 
frequent revision of the instructions for the national form.
    Therefore, paragraph 8.4(a)(7) provides that the instructions 
direct applicants to consult the accompanying instructions for their 
state of residence to determine if that state requires this information 
in order to participate in partisan nominating processes. The 
instructions will note that if applicants registering in these states 
list ``none'', leave the field blank, or list a political party not 
recognized by the state, they may be prohibited from voting in partisan 
nominating contests but can still vote in other elections.

J. Signature of Applicant Under Oath

    Virtually every state requires the signature of the applicant under 
penalty of perjury. In addition, the Act requires the signature of the 
applicant under penalty of perjury. 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-7 (b)(2)(C). This 
requirement is reflected in paragraph 8.4(b)(3).
    The Act further requires a statement that ``specifies each 
eligibility requirement (including citizenship)'' and ``contains an 
attestation that the applicant meets each such requirement.'' 42 U.S.C. 
1973gg-7(b)(2) (A) and (B). Because states vary significantly in their 
specific voter eligibility requirements, the NPRM proposed that the 
application identify U.S. Citizenship (the only eligibility requirement 
that is universal) and then incorporate by reference the other specific 
voter eligibility requirements of each individual state (such as age, 
residence, criminal conviction, and mental incapacity), directing the 
applicant to the instructions under the applicant's state for the list 
of those requirements. Because a few states require a special pledge of 
allegiance to their state Constitution or other special oath as an 
eligibility requirement, the NPRM proposed to incorporate by reference 
any such state pledge in the oath on the national application. This 
approach is retained in paragraph 8.4(b)(1) of the final rules.
    One commenter proposed modifying the oath to attest that signing 
the application authorizes cancellation of previous registrations. This 
modification has not been included both because it is not required by 
the NVRA, and because the applications may be used to change 
information on the registry, and cancellation of the previous 
registrations would not be appropriate in such cases.
    Some commenters argued that at least some of the states' 
eligibility requirements could be simplified (especially regarding 
party affiliation, criminal conviction, and mental incapacity) so that 
they could be listed on the application along with citizenship. 
However, there are enough variations in state eligibility requirements 
that such an approach could misstate the requirements of particular 
states, mislead the applicant, and unduly complicate the application. 
Accordingly, paragraph 8.4(b)(1) of the final rules retains the 
original proposal.
    The NPRM also proposed that the applicant sign a statement that he 
or she has read the accompanying booklet, and to the best of his or her 
knowledge, meets the requirements as stated on the form and in the 
accompanying instructions. Numerous commenters noted that this 
requirement could both constitute a literacy test prohibited by the 
Voting Rights Act and discriminate against the visually impaired. These 
commenters urged that the form simply require the applicant to attest 
to meeting each requirement, in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-
7(b)(2)(B). The Commission agrees; accordingly, paragraph 8.4(b)(2) of 
the final rules has been so modified.

K. Date of Signature

    While no commenters opposed the proposal in the NPRM that a field 
be provided for the date of signature in the standard month-day-year 
format, one election official suggested that states be permitted to 
accept applications even when this information has not been provided. 
The Commission considers this a matter for states to decide; therefore, 
paragraph 8.4(b)(3) retains this provision.

L. If You Are Unable to Sign Your Name, The Name, Address, and 
(Optional) Telephone Number of the Person Who Assisted You In 
Completing This Form

    A few commenters expressed concern about the proposal to require 
the name, address, and telephone number of the person assisting an 
applicant who is unable to sign his or her name. They noted that such a 
requirement might have a dampening effect on participants in organized 
voter registration drives, especially in poor rural areas; and that 
such a requirement might constitute the kind of ``formal 
authentication'' prohibited by the Act.
    However, in cases where the applicant is unable to sign the 
application, and only in such cases, it may be legally or 
administratively necessary to require the name, address, and (optional) 
telephone number of the person assisting the applicant as a reasonable 
means of deterring or detecting fraudulent voter registration 
applications. Such an important purpose outweighs whatever dampening 
effect the requirement might have on those providing assistance. 
Moreover, some states have indicated that they will not process an 
application without the applicant's signature unless information on the 
person assisting the applicant has been provided. Paragraph 8.4(b)(5), 
therefore, retains this requirement.
    Such a requirement does not constitute the kind of ``formal 
authentication'' prohibited by the Act. The Act's use of ``formal 
authentication'' in conjunction with its use of ``notarization'' refers 
to an official act by a public officer. The mere identification of the 
person who provided assistance to an applicant unable to sign the 
application does not, then, qualify as ``formal authentication.''
    One commenter suggested that the regulations prohibit this item 
from being used as a means of formal authentication. Since the NVRA 
already prohibits mail registration forms from including any 
requirement for notarization or other formal authentication, at 42 
U.S.C. 1973gg-7(b)(3), the regulations need not restate this 
prohibition.

M. Race/Ethnicity

    Both the ANPRM and the NPRM sought comments on whether ``race/
ethnicity'' should be included on the national mail registration form. 
Those who responded to this issue presented a wide range of well-
reasoned arguments.
    Arguments raised in support of requiring ``race/ethnicity'' 
included: it is necessary to monitor the effectiveness of registration 
efforts under the Act; it is necessary to comply with the intent of the 
NVRA to eliminate barriers to equal voter registration; it is essential 
for full enforcement of the NVRA's anti-discrimination provisions 
concerning confirmation mailings; it would provide a statistical basis 
for administering and enforcing the Voting Rights Act; it is necessary 
under the U.S. Constitution to determine whether a jurisdiction 
unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of race; and it would 
serve as a guide to determine minority representation of pollworkers.
    Arguments presented against asking ``race/ethnicity'' included: it 
is not necessary to determine eligibility to vote; it is not essential 
for voter registration purposes; it is not necessary to comply with the 
intent of the NVRA; it is not required by the Voting Rights Act; it 
could have a chilling effect on voter registration, because applicants 
may view such a request as personally offensive, an invasion of 
privacy, or intimidating; it would require an unwieldy and/or 
emotionally charged classification scheme of possible races or ethnic 
groups; it could lead to an application's being rejected because the 
applicant failed to indicate his or her race or ethnicity; and it could 
result in some applications being more closely scrutinized than others 
on the basis of the applicant's race or ethnicity.
    The Commission considered several options on how best to deal with 
this issue. These included requiring ``race/ethnicity'' from every 
applicant using the national voter registration form in every state; 
requiring ``race/ethnicity'' as an optional item in every state; 
requiring ``race/ethnicity'' only in those states that currently 
require it under state law; providing a box for ``race/ethnicity'' on 
the application, with instructions to applicants to complete the space 
in accordance with the state-specific requirements listed for their 
states; and not requesting or requiring ``race/ethnicity'' on the 
application.
    Requiring ``race/ethnicity'' on every form from every applicant 
using the national voter registration form in every state would 
facilitate the enforcement and administration of those sections of the 
Voting Rights Act that involve determinations of racial impact, along 
with any monitoring of the racial impact of the NVRA itself. It would 
also satisfy all of the other arguments in favor of asking ``race/
ethnicity,'' and is simple and straightforward for the applicant.
    However, adopting this option would raise the difficult question of 
whether the Commission can impose requirements beyond what many states 
require under state law. It also fails to accommodate any of the 
concerns expressed by those opposed to including this item, especially 
the concern that applications might be rejected simply because 
applicants failed to respond to the question.
    The Commission notes that any approach that does not require 
``race/ethnicity'' nationwide would not be helpful in administering 
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. 1973), or in monitoring 
the racial impact of the NVRA, in states that do not require this 
information. However, the data generated through the NVRA form in 
states that do not otherwise seek this information would likely be of 
limited use either under Section 2 of the VRA, or in monitoring the 
racial impact of the NVRA.
    If ``race/ethnicity'' were to be requested as an optional item 
nationwide, states that do not currently require this information would 
be unlikely to reject applications from those who failed to respond to 
the question. This approach would also satisfy a number of other 
concerns from those opposed to including the question. For example, 
those opposed to providing this information on personal privacy grounds 
would not be required to do so. Finally, it is simple and 
straightforward for the applicant.
    Its principal disadvantage is that, to the degree that applicants 
fail to respond, there would be gaps in the data bases of states that 
currently require this information and use it to help maintain racial 
statistics to help in administering Section 5 of the VRA (42 U.S.C. 
1973c).
    Requiring ``race/ethnicity'' only in those seven states that 
currently require it under state law would neither enhance nor hinder 
current data collection efforts pursuant to Section 5 of the VRA. This 
would be consistent with current state practices to require ``race/
ethnicity'' in states that currently do so but would not impose this 
requirement on applicants in states that do not. However, this approach 
would not serve the needs of the two states that currently request but 
do not require this information.
    Omitting ``race/ethnicity'' entirely would simplify the application 
form, booklet, and process, while satisfying all the concerns of those 
opposed to asking for this information. However, this could diminish 
data collection efforts pursuant to Section 5 of the VRA by creating 
gaps in the data bases of those states that currently require this 
information and use it for this purpose.
    After considering all of these options, the Commission has decided 
to provide a box for ``race/ethnicity'' on the application, with 
instructions to applicants to complete the space in accordance with the 
state-specific requirements for their states. This approach is most 
consistent with current state practices, in that it requires or 
requests ``race/ethnicity'' in states that currently do so without 
imposing it on applicants in states that do not. It also accommodates 
changes in state requirements by permitting changes in the booklet 
portion of the form without having to change the application itself.
    Thus, new paragraph 8.4(a)(8) includes a field for ``race/
ethnicity'' on the national mail registration application, to be 
completed by applicants if applicable for their state of residence. It 
also states that the application shall direct the applicant to consult 
the state-specific instructions to determine whether ``race/ethnicity'' 
is required or requested by his or her state.

II. Items to be Excluded From the Form

    The Commission has determined, in consultation with the states, to 
exclude the following items from the national mail voter registration 
form because they do not meet the ``necessary threshold'' of the NVRA 
to assess the eligibility of the applicant or to administer voter 
registration or other parts of the election process.

A. A Checkbox To Identify Whether the Application is a New 
Registration, Address Change, Name Change, or a Party Change

    The NPRM proposed that this information be requested in a checkbox 
as the first item on the application to facilitate the maintenance of 
accurate voter registration lists. Some commenters noted that this 
field is unnecessary so long as the applicant is required to complete 
the application and also provide former address and, where appropriate, 
former name. Others noted that they have found the use of such a 
checkbox to be unreliable.
    Accordingly, this provision has been deleted from the final rules.

B. Information on Former Party Affiliation

    The NPRM proposed that applicants be required to provide 
information on former party affiliation on a detachable portion of the 
application. One state election official objected to this proposal 
because the only way to establish or change party affiliation in his 
state was to vote in the party's primary election. In addition, 
information on former party affiliation is not considered necessary to 
maintain accurate voter registration records. Accordingly, this 
requirement has been deleted.

C. Gender

    The NPRM invited comment on the desirability of including a field 
for gender on the national voter registration application. Comments 
made in response were mixed.
    The principal argument including gender was that it is unnecessary 
in determining the eligibility of the applicant.
    Arguments for including it were twofold: that it is useful in voter 
identification in cases of ambiguous or similar names, and that it is 
desirable for generating statistics sought by researchers, candidates, 
and the media.
    Given these legitimate viewpoints, paragraph 8.4(a)(1), as 
discussed above, provides for an optional prefix to the applicant's 
name. Although not including a gender field per se, the application 
will list the possible choices of ``Mr.'', ``Mrs.'', ``Miss'', or 
``Ms.'' in a box before the field for the applicant's name.

D. Information Regarding Naturalization

    Many commenters agreed that information regarding naturalization 
should not be included on the national mail voter registration 
application. While several commenters stated that information regarding 
whether or not an individual has become a naturalized citizen is 
essential in order to assess an individual's qualifications for voting, 
numerous others urged the Commission to exclude any items, including 
information regarding naturalization, that are not absolutely essential 
to the registration process.
    While U.S. citizenship is a prerequisite for voting in every state, 
the basis of citizenship, whether it be by birth or by naturalization, 
is irrelevant to voter eligibility. The issue of U.S. citizenship is 
addressed within the oath required by the Act and signed by the 
applicant under penalty of perjury. To further emphasize this 
prerequisite to the applicant, the words ``For U.S. Citizens Only'' 
will appear in prominent type on the front cover of the national mail 
voter registration form. For these reasons, the final rules do not 
include this additional requirement.

E. Place of Birth

    Comments on whether or not to include place of birth on the 
national mail voter registration application were divided. The central 
argument advanced for including place of birth was its usefulness as a 
vehicle for distinguishing duplicate registrations. One commenter noted 
that his state had a Constitutional requirement that place of birth be 
included on registration forms, while another noted that place of birth 
is often used as a starting point to ``investigate'' citizenship as it 
pertains to voting eligibility.
    The Commission notes, however, that duplicate registrations can 
effectively be distinguished given the required information contained 
on the application, including the optional prefix field, date of birth, 
and voter identification number in those states that will utilize some 
form of specific numerical identifier. Seventeen states currently 
function without requiring place of birth. Given its potential for 
inviting unequal scrutiny of applications from citizens born outside 
the United States, such as those born of parents serving overseas in 
the Armed Forces, the final rules do not include place of birth on the 
national mail voter registration application.

F. Occupation

    All commenters agreed that occupational information is neither 
essential for determining vote, eligibility nor for the administration 
of the election process. The final rules do not provide for a field for 
an individual's occupation on the application.

G. Specific Information Regarding Criminal Conviction or Mental 
Incapacity

    Voter eligibility requirements vary considerably among the states, 
especially with regard to both disenfranchising for criminal 
convictions and definitions of mental incapacity; therefore, the NPRM 
proposed to incorporate these matters into the application by reference 
to the individual state voter eligibility requirements.
    One commenter pointed out that his state currently requires 
applicants who have been convicted of a disenfranchising crime to 
provide the date on which the applicant's voting rights were formally 
restored. A survey of the states suggests, however, that the majority 
of them do not formally restore a convicted felon's voting rights by 
any special act or ceremony. Instead, rights are automatically restored 
either upon completion of the sentence or upon completion of the period 
of incarceration. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of states do not 
request or require the date of the restoration of their voting rights 
from applicants who have been convicted of a disenfranchising crime.
    It appears, then, that the date of restoration of voting rights is 
not itself essential to determining the eligibility of applicants, 
provided that applicants affirm in writing and under penalty of perjury 
that they have not been convicted of a disenfranchising crime, or, if 
so, that their voting rights have been restored.
    For these reasons, paragraph 8.4(b)(1) parallels the NPRM by 
incorporating matters of criminal conviction and mental incapacity by 
reference to the individual state voter eligibility requirements.

H. Height, Weight, Hair and Eye Color, or Other Physical 
Characteristics

    Although one response to the NPRM indicated that height was a 
useful element in identifying voters at the polls, all other commenters 
on this issue agreed with the NPRM that physical characteristics are 
essential neither for determining voter eligibility nor for the 
administration of the election process. The final rules do not include 
a field on the application for information pertaining to an 
individual's height, weight, hair and eye color, or any other physical 
characteristic.

I. Marital Status

    All commenters agreed with the NPRM that marital status is 
essential neither for determining voter eligibility nor for the 
administration of the election process. The Commission is not including 
marital status on the application.

J. Other Names

    A number of commenters agreed with the NPRM that other names, 
including maiden name, spouse's name, mother's maiden name and others, 
are neither essential for determining voter eligibility nor for the 
administration of the election process. One commenter urged that maiden 
name be required because it is used as the chief identifier to update 
and cancel voter registrations. Another argued that maiden name was 
necessary to avoid a dual registration system in his state because it 
was required by the State Constitution. However, the national 
application will serve as a notice of name change; and most states 
indicated in response to a Commission survey that other names are not 
necessary. The Commission is not including information regarding other 
names on the application.

K. Miscellaneous Items

    A number of comments received in response to the NPRM supported the 
exclusion from the national form of such items as language preference, 
the need for assistance by persons with disabilities, and the 
willingness to serve as a poll worker. One commenter, however, 
supported a checkbox for language preference and another suggested 
adding a checkbox to be used for requesting an absentee ballot.
    The Commission recognizes the concerns of language minority groups, 
as well as the language minority requirements of the Voting Rights Act 
specified in 42 U.S.C. 1973aa-1a and 1973(f)(4). Indeed, the Commission 
is hoping to develop separate versions of the national mail voter 
registration form by translating the form into each of the written 
languages covered by the Voting Rights Act, and to do so to the extent 
technically possible in a side by side format with the English version. 
Furthermore, the Commission realizes that local election officials face 
a challenge due to the dwindling pool of potential poll workers, and 
that a number of individuals who register by mail may also apply to 
vote by absentee ballot.
    Nevertheless, alternative means exist for eliciting these 
miscellaneous items other than including such questions on the 
application. Also, states have the option of implementing a provision 
of the NVRA permitting them to require persons who register by mail to 
vote in person the first time after registration, unless the 
registrant's right to vote absentee is protected under federal law. The 
final rules, therefore, do not require or request any such 
miscellaneous information.

III. Format

A. Layout

    The ANPRM sought comments on whether the design of the form should 
be a single sheet, an application with a separate set of instructions, 
or a tear out application within a booklet of instructions. Sections 
8.3 and 8.5 of the NPRM proposed the third approach because it appeared 
to be the best way to develop a universal form that would accommodate 
the information requirements under the NVRA and different state 
requirements. Under this approach, the Commission considered the 
``form'' to include both the application portion and the accompanying 
booklet of instructions.
    The NPRM proposed that the booklet would contain one or more tear 
out forms, instructions on how to complete the form, and a list of each 
covered state's eligibility and information requirements. under this 
approach, the information contained in the booklet would be critical to 
the application, and the application could not be used without the 
accompanying instructions. All of the information relating to a 
particular state would be consolidated in one place. If the applicant 
had any questions concerning his or her state's requirements, the 
applicant would be able to read the relevant information under his or 
her specific state. Upon completing it, the applicant would forward the 
form to the appropriate state-level election official, as listed in the 
booklet.
    Although a number of commenters supported this approach as the most 
practical way of developing a universal form meeting all the 
requirements of the NVRA, there were also a substantial number who 
opposed it. Opponents argued that the booklet was likely to be complex; 
intimidating, confusing, and time-consuming to use; and costly to 
produce. A number of commenters urged that states, agencies, and voter 
registration drives be permitted to distribute the national application 
with only the pertinent state's instructions, instead of a booklet with 
all state requirements. However, one commenter was concerned that 
applications might become separated from the booklet and suggested the 
application include a note warning the applicant not to complete the 
application if it had been detached from the booklet.
    In considering whether or not the application should be made 
available separate from the general instructions and specific state 
instructions, the Commission worked to ensure that: (1) the form meet 
all the requirements of the NVRA and be ``user friendly''; (2) the 
appropriate general instructions and state-specific information always 
be provided with the application; (3) the form be usable anywhere in 
the nation, enabling persons temporarily away from home (such as 
students and travelers) to apply to register to vote from a state other 
than the one in which they legally reside for voting purposes; and (4) 
the cost of producing the form be kept to a minimum.
    Relating to item 2 above, permitting applications to be distributed 
without attached general instructions and state voter registration 
requirements could result in applicants not receiving the information 
needed to correctly complete the application and attest to their 
eligibility. Also, if the distribution of the application with the 
general instructions and a single state's information is permitted, 
states and voter registration drives may not maintain a sufficient 
supply of information booklets to enable individuals to register in 
another state where they maintain their voting residence.
    The latter concern was reinforced when a recent Commission survey 
established that 42 states and the District of Columbia are planning to 
develop or have developed their own state mail registration form as 
permitted at 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-(a)(2). (The remaining 3 states that 
responded noted that they did not know yet if they would do so.) Only 7 
of the 46 indicated that they might use the national form, under 
limited circumstances, in their agency registration process. In most 
instances, therefore, the national form is likely to be used only by 
students, business travelers, and others who are temporarily away from 
their state of residence. On the other hand, organized voter 
registration drives may prefer to use the national form when state 
forms are not readily available or are extremely complex, or where 
registrants come from many states.
    In weighting all these considerations, the Commission has 
determined the national application card may be made available without 
the entire booklet attached. This will enable voter registration drives 
targeting only one state's residents to distribute with the application 
only the general instructions and that state's information.
    The chief state election official, however, must still make 
available the complete national mail voter registration form (the 
application and booklet) as required under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-4(b). As 
stated in paragraph 8.3(a), this includes the application, general 
instructions for completing the application, and each state's 
instructions for the unique eligibility and voter registration 
requirements.
    Applicants must attest to meeting each of their state's eligibility 
requirements, and so they have to be familiar with that portion of the 
instructions. Out-of-state applicants will not be able to use the 
national application to register if a particular state or organization 
does not supply instructions for their states.
    Because some commenters did not think the regulations stated 
clearly enough that all information for a specific state would be 
consolidated in one place, paragraph 8.3(b) states that the information 
for each state will be arranged by state. And because commenters noted 
that proposed regulations in the NPRM did not clearly differentiate 
between what would be on the application and what would appear 
elsewhere in the form, section 8.6 provides that distinction.
    In the NPRM the Commission considered making the completed 
application sealable by employing a removable strip covering a pre-
glued area along the bottom of the form. The form could be folded at 
the center perforation and attached to a pre-glued area to the top of 
the form. Registrars would be able to remove the sealing strip portion 
(which itself would be perforated) and either remove the ancillary 
portion or else fold it back and file it along with the application. 
There were no objections to this proposal, although one commenter did 
not think that a pre-glued strip was necessary because the postal 
service is required to hold the information confidential.
    The purpose in suggesting that the application be sealable was to 
ensure that the application meets postal service size specifications 
and that both parts remain intact through the mail. Paragraph 
8.5(c)(1), therefore, retains the provision that the application be 
sealable. The reason for using a removable strip covering a pre-glued 
area is to prevent unused applications stored under humid conditions 
from sticking to one another. The Commission, however, is currently 
investigating practical and cost-saving alternatives before deciding on 
one particular method.
    The NPRM proposed that the ``outside'' of the application contain 
blank address lines. The address of each state registration official 
would be provided in the accompanying instructions. Applicants would be 
directed to complete the front of the application with the appropriate 
address and affix first class postage. Appropriate postal indicia would 
be preprinted accordingly. Although one commenter suggested that the 
forms be postage-prepaid, this is not feasible because no federal funds 
have been appropriated to cover such postage.
    Some commenters suggested that the proposed rule be amended to 
require ``Chief Election Official, state of __________'' be preprinted 
on the application with instructions for the applicant to fill in the 
name of the appropriate state. They argued that a more complicated 
address is not needed under the NVRA. While this would be a simpler 
approach, a representative of the national office of the U.S. Postal 
Service stated that it is unlikely applications with such abbreviated 
addresses would be delivered. This representative and some election 
officials also indicated that even with the addition of the city and 
zip code, delivery could be significantly delayed. The Commission is 
mindful that adopting such an approach could result in too many 
applications not reaching their destination at all or reaching it too 
late for applicants to be registered for upcoming elections, thus 
defeating one of the goals of the NVRA. Accordingly, paragraph 
8.5(c)(2) retains the provision that application contain blank lines to 
be completed by the applicant using the state information provided.

B. Size, Weight, and Color of the Form

    The NPRM proposed to capture all of the required data elements on a 
single 5'' x 8'' application card of sufficient stock and weight to 
satisfy postal regulations and standard filing requirements. A few 
commenters objected that this size was either too big in comparison to 
the size of forms currently used in their state, or too small to 
accommodate all data elements in a type size large enough for the 
average voter. Nevertheless, the Commission has determined that this is 
the best size for the application given postal requirements, the 
majority of states' requirements, and the need for the form to be 
readable.
    The NPRM suggested that the application card be attached by a 
perforated fold to another 5'' x 8'' card containing requests for 
ancillary information, where applicable, such as former name, previous 
address, and a locational map. One commenter urged that the fields for 
former name and address be included on the application itself to ensure 
that applicants know that they should provide this information. Another 
commenter recommended this information be included within the 
application because optical scanning equipment will have to be adjusted 
to record each combined application and attached lower portion. 
Including fields for such information on the application, however, 
would require the use of a smaller type size, making the application 
difficult to read. Paragraph 8.5(b), therefore, parallels the proposed 
regulations with regard to size of the application card and the 
detachable portion. The application will rely on explicit instructions 
to ensure that this information is provided in the detachable portion.
    To accommodate optical scanning capabilities, the NPRM proposed to 
use ink and paper colors of sufficient contrast for that purpose, to 
minimize the volume of preprinted material on the application without 
sacrificing clarity to the applicant, and to designate a signature 
field rather than a signature line for the applicant's signature or 
mark. Commenters supported these provisions, but one suggested that the 
application also be printed with drop-out ink in areas where the 
applicant prints his or her information and include tick marks to show 
the applicant where to print characters representing the information 
they are required to provide. The Commission will explore to what 
extent these suggestions can be incorporated in the specifications for 
producing the form, but has not addressed these matters in the final 
rules at paragraphs 8.5 (d) and (e).
    A number of commenters on the ANPRM expressed their need to add 
information to the application such as precinct and legislative 
districts. Accordingly, the NPRM proposed to include, where 
practicable, blank areas on both sides of the form labeled ``For 
Official Use Only''. No objections were received to this proposal and 
paragraph 8.5(c)(3) parallels the language in the NPRM.
    Some comments received in response to the NPRM indicated a need for 
margins from \1/2\'' to 1'' around the periphery of the application 
where holes can be punched permitting placement of the card in a 
binder. The Commission will explore to what extent this is possible 
given the primary goal of producing a readable form in the largest 
practicable type size.

C. Type Size

    To accommodate applicants with vision impairments, the NPRM 
proposed that the form employ the largest practicable sans serif type 
size. The Commission has now decided, however, that limiting the type 
face to sans serif would be unduly restrictive. Paragraph 8.5(f), 
therefore, does not reference a specific type face.

D. Bilingual Requirements

    Jurisdictions covered by the NVRA must provide forms which meet the 
requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to eliminate language 
barriers. 42 U.S.C. 1973aa-1(a). To accommodate the needs of language 
minority groups and the language minority requirements of the Voting 
Rights Act, the Commission noted in the NPRM that it hopes to develop 
separate versions of the form in each of the written languages covered 
by that Act, to the extent technically possible, in a side by side 
format with the English version.
    One commenter suggested amending the regulations to state this 
requirement. Another suggested that the form, including confirmation 
mailings, be provided in languages not covered by the Voting Rights 
Act. Federal regulations relating to the requirements to provide 
election materials in a language other than English are the 
responsibility of the U.S. Department of Justice and, therefore, the 
Commission has not addressed this topic in these regulations. However, 
the Commission intends to explore the possibility of developing the 
national form in the written languages determined necessary by the U.S. 
Department of Justice as a means of assisting covered states and local 
jurisdictions in their implementation of the NVRA and the Voting Rights 
Act. Where more than one written dialect exists for the language, the 
Commission will seek the advice of the Department of Justice, 
organizations representing the various language minority groups, and 
affected election officials before determining which one(s) will be 
used for the translation.

E. Meeting the Needs of the Disabled

    A few commenters objected to the proposed form because they 
believed it would present particular barriers to Americans with 
disabilities. The Commission is aware of the needs of persons with 
disabilities and the requirements of both the Voting Accessibility for 
the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 and the Americans with 
Disabilities Act (``ADA''). 42 U.S.C. 1973ee, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. 
The ADA requires that states provide disabled persons with ``auxiliary 
aids and services'' where necessary to participate in a program or 
benefit. Determinations of what must be done to comply with both the 
NVRA and the ADA must be made by each state in consultation with its 
state Attorney General.
    One commenter pointed out that section 504 of the Rehabilitation 
Act of 1973 prohibits excluding a person, by reason of handicap, from 
participation in any program or activity conducted by a federal agency. 
29 U.S.C. 794. The Commission proposes below to develop the national 
voter registration form in the largest practicable type size and to 
explore the feasibility of reproducing the national form's instructions 
on audiotape in order to accommodate applicants with vision 
impairments. Furthermore, the NVRA requires distribution of the form at 
agencies that are primarily engaged in providing services to persons 
with disabilities. Therefore, many disabled applicants will have the 
assistance of agency personnel when completing the form, if assistance 
is needed.

F. Production of Forms

    As noted in the NPRM, the Commission is considering methods of 
keeping printing and production costs to a minimum while maintaining 
printing quality control. To achieve these objectives, the Commission 
will have a modest number of each version (English only and those in a 
language other than English) of the form (the booklet of consolidated 
instructions and attached applications) as well as the separate 
application printed at the Government Printing Office (``GPO''). This 
will make these items government documents, available for sale through 
GPO, and will offer the states and other interested groups an 
opportunity to ``ride'' the print order for the quantities they feel 
necessary (and to reorder as needed). Given GPO economies of scale, 
such an approach should substantially reduce costs and provide an 
avenue for obtaining large quantities of the form and separate 
application.
    One commenter wanted the Commission to pay for the forms and 
provide a sufficient number to the states. Another commenter proposed 
that the forms be made available to 501(c)(3) organizations free of 
charge. Although the Commission plans to pay for the initial production 
of the form and the separate application, the Commission does not have 
the funds to produce enough to meet the states' needs. Each state will 
have to decide whether or not the forms will be made available to 
various organizations free of charge.
    Several commenters recommended that the regulations be revised to 
permit the independent reproduction of the application and relevant 
parts of the instructions. The Commission does not foresee any problem 
with reprinting or photocopying the general instructions and relevant 
state information, or their independent reproduction in a format more 
accessible to the visually impaired (such as in Braille or audiotape).
    The reproduction of the application, however, is more problematic. 
First, some methods of reproduction will not yield a product that meets 
U.S. Post Office specifications. Although a photocopied application 
which is too flimsy to go through the mail on its own could be mailed 
in an envelope or delivered by hand to the appropriate election 
official, this would require more effort from the applicant than an 
application that meets these specifications. Second, some methods of 
reproduction will not result in an application that meets the handling 
and optical scanning requirements of election offices. Still, the 
Commission is sensitive to the issue of forms availability and is aware 
that a few states permit the acceptance of applications that are not on 
the usual card stock used in the state.
    Accordingly, paragraph 8.5(a) has been rewritten to permit the 
reprinting of the national application using technical specifications 
to be set forth by the Commission at a later date. These specifications 
will incorporate specific instructions on acceptable type size, layout, 
ink color and quality, paper weight, and the like. The Commission also 
plans to provide camera-ready copies of the national application, upon 
request, to interested states and organizations.
    Whether or not photocopies of the national application are 
acceptable is a matter for each state to decide.

G. Obtaining State Information

    Pursuant to the Act's requirement that the form specify ``each 
eligibility requirement'' of each state (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-7(b)(2)(A)), 
the NPRM proposed that the chief election official of each state 
responsible for coordinating activities under the NVRA be required to 
certify to the Commission each voter eligibility requirement of the 
state, including the standard deadline for submitting applications 
(with state Constitutional or statutory citations), within 30 days 
after the promulgation of the final rule. The NPRM also proposed to 
require, from officials in states requiring or requesting the 
applicant's full social security number, the state's privacy statement 
required under the Privacy Act of 1974. 5 U.S.C. 552a note.
    These requirements are retained in section 8.6. This section now 
also: provides examples of eligibility requirements for which state 
information is sought; requires what, if any, voter identification 
number the state requires or requests; whether the state requires or 
requests a declaration of race/ethnicity; and, as recommended by one 
commenter, requires the designation and address of the state election 
office where completed national mail registration applications should 
be sent.
    This section also retains the NPRM's requirement that the chief 
state election official provide the Commission with notice of any 
change thereafter to the state's eligibility requirements within 30 
days of the change. This provision has been amended in paragraph 8.6(c) 
to state that such notification also is required for changes to any of 
the other state-specific information referenced in paragraphs 8.6 (a) 
and (b), such as deadlines for registration, voter identification 
number, privacy notice, title and address of the state election office.

Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

    Under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-7(a)(3), the Commission is required to 
submit to the Congress not later than June 30 of each odd-numbered year 
a report assessing the impact of the NVRA on the administration of 
elections for federal office during the preceding 2 year period. The 
report must also include recommendations for improvements in federal 
and state forms, procedures, and other matters affected by the Act. The 
Commission is granted regulatory authority to prescribe, in 
consultation with the chief election officials of the states, such 
regulations as are necessary to implement this reporting requirement. 
42 U.S.C. 1973gg-7(a)(1).
    In order to produce a document that is both useful and 
comprehensive, the Commission will need several different types of 
data. For some of this data (such as total voting age population by 
state and demographic figures on reported voter registration), the 
Commission will use figures produced by the Bureau of Census. For the 
data elements identified below, however, the Commission will require 
the chief election official of each state responsible for coordinating 
activities under the NVRA to report to the Commission.
    Paragraph 8.7(a) requires each state's chief election official to 
report to the FEC, on a form provided by the Commission, the identified 
information, no later than March 31 of each odd-numbered year (the year 
following each regularly scheduled general election for federal office, 
hereafter referred to as ``federal general election'') beginning March 
31, 1995.
    The Commission notes that several persons commenting on the NPRM 
suggested that the date of the first report be moved to March 31, 1997, 
to enable the states to provide a comprehensive report covering the 
entire two year period. However, the NVRA requires a report to Congress 
in 1995. Paragraph 8.7(c) states that this first report need only 
include a brief narrative description of the state's NVRA 
implementation as described below, and the number of registered voters 
in the state in the 1994 general election to use as a baseline for 
future reports.

I. Contents of the Report

    For the reasons given, the following items are necessary to assess 
the impact of the NVRA on the administration of elections for federal 
office.

A. The Total Number of Registered Voters Statewide (Both as ``Active'' 
and as ``Inactive'') in the Federal General Election Two Years Prior to 
the Most Recent Federal General Election

    The Commission believes that in order to assess the impact of the 
NVRA each two years, it is essential to obtain as a baseline the total 
number of registrants statewide (both ``active'' and ``inactive'' if 
the state makes such a distinction) in the federal general election 
prior to the one just preceding the reporting date. For example, for 
the 1999 report, the number would be the number of voters registered in 
the November 1996 election.
    In the absence of any specific comments on the NPRM opposing this 
reporting requirement, paragraph 8.7(b)(1) requires this information on 
each state report. The Commission plans to convey the number of active 
registrants to the Congress not only in numbers, but also, based on 
Census figures, as a percentage of voting age population in each state.

B. The Total Number of Registered Voters Statewide (Both as ``Active'' 
and as ``Inactive'') in the Most Recent Federal General Election

    In order to determine the overall increase or decrease in voter 
registration between federal general elections, paragraph 8.7(b)(2) 
requires from each state the total number of voters registered in the 
most recent federal general election and the number of ``active'' and 
``inactive registrants if the state makes such a distinction.

C. The Total Number of New Valid Registrations Accepted Statewide 
Between the Past Two Federal General Elections, Including All 
Registrations That Are New to the Local Jurisdiction and Re-
Registrations Across Jurisdictional Lines, but Excluding All 
Applications That Are Duplicates, Rejected, or Report Only a Change of 
Name, Address, or (Where Applicable) Party Preference Within the Local 
Jurisdiction

    Because changes in total voter registration figures between federal 
general elections result from additions to the list as well as 
deletions from the list, paragraph 8.7(b)(3) requires of each state the 
total number of new valid registrations between the date of the most 
recent federal election and the one prior to the most recent. The 
Commission expanded the NPRM's language in response to comments seeking 
clarification of the definition of what constitutes a ``new valid 
registration.''
    While no commenters specifically objected to this reporting 
requirement, one commenter suggested that the Commission also require 
the reporting of the number of registration applications rejected, as 
well as the reason for their rejection, in order to monitor the 
effectiveness of NVRA compliance to the Voting Rights Act. The final 
rules do not require this additional information as the burden it would 
place on the states and other reporting entities would far outweigh its 
potential usefulness.

D. If the State Distinguishes Between ``Active'' and ``Inactive'' 
Voters, the Total Number of Registrants Statewide That Were Designated 
``Inactive'' at the Close Of the Most Recent Federal General Election

    The language in paragraph 8.7(b)(4) describing this reporting item 
has been altered from that in the NPRM to reflect the concern shared by 
several commenters that, since individuals would be added and deleted 
from the voter roles at various times during the election cycle in each 
state, no meaningful correlation could be made from the information as 
proposed. The Commission feels a better basis of comparison will result 
by uniformly requiring the collection of this information ``at the 
close of the most recent federal general election.''
    In order to maintain consistency in the numbers of registrants 
reported, paragraph 8.7(b)(4) requires from those states that adopt the 
practice of distinguishing between ``active'' and ``inactive'' voters, 
the number of registrants designated as ``inactive'' at the close of 
the most recent federal general election and who remained ``inactive'' 
after the most recent federal general election (thus ruling out 
registrants that were designated ``inactive'' but were restored to 
``active'' status by reason of returning a confirmation notice or 
voting).

E. The Total Number of Registrations Statewide That Were Deleted From 
the Registration List Between the Past Two Federal General Elections

    Paragraph 8.7(b)(5) requires each state to report the total number 
of registrations (both ``active'' and ``inactive'' if the state makes 
such a distinction) that were, for whatever reason, deleted from the 
registration list between the past two federal general elections. 
Although one commenter opposed this provision, this information is 
necessary to provide a more complete view of changes in total 
registration figures than would be available from information relating 
solely to additions to the voter registration list.

F. The Statewide Number of Registration Applications That Were Received 
From or Generated By Each of the Following Categories of Sources: (1) 
All Motor Vehicles Offices; (2) Mail; (3) All Public Assistance 
Agencies That Are Mandated As Registration Sites Under the NVRA; (4) 
All State-Funded Agencies Primarily Serving Persons With Disabilities; 
(5) All Armed Forces Recruitment Offices; (6) All Other Agencies 
Designated by the State; and (7) All Other Means (Including In-Person, 
Deputy Registrars, Organized Voter Registration Drives Delivering Forms 
Directly to Registrars, etc.)

    The wording of paragraph 8.7(b)(6) of the final rules has been 
revised from that proposed in NPRM to more clearly define the 
information sought by the Commission. Several commenters were uncertain 
if the Commission would be asking for the total number of registration 
applications (regardless of whether they are valid, rejected, 
duplicative, or other information changes) from the various categories 
of locations as distinct from individual agency offices throughout the 
state.
    A principal objective of the NVRA is to expand the number and range 
of locations where eligible citizens may obtain and complete a voter 
registration application. The final rules, therefore, require 
information regarding the number of registration applications received 
from or generated by the sources identified above to provide an 
indication of the level of voter registration activity from each.
    There was no significant opposition to this reporting requirement. 
A few commenters suggested that the Commission go beyond the proposed 
requirements to include such things as the total number of 
registrations received from each individual office of each entity 
providing registration services, and the total volume of people served 
by each agency to compare the rate of individuals registered to the 
total number of people seeking service or assistance from each entity. 
While this additional information might provide useful statistics for 
the evaluation and comparison of particular agency sites, the final 
rules do not seek this information in view of the negative impact more 
complicated recordkeeping and reporting requirements would impose on 
the staff of both election offices and agencies or other entities 
providing voter registration services who are often already burdened 
with overwhelming caseloads.
    The Commission notes, however, that the collection and retention of 
this information may be deemed necessary by the Department of Justice 
in those states that require disclosure of race on the voter 
registration application in order to assist the Department in enforcing 
the various provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

G. The Total Number of ``Duplicate'' Registration Applications 
Statewide That, Between the Past Two Federal General Elections, Were 
Received in the Appropriate Election Office and Generated by Each of 
the Following Categories: (1) All Motor Vehicle Offices; (2) Mail; (3) 
All Public Assistance Agencies That Are Mandated As Registration Sites 
Under the NVRA; (4) All State-Funded Agencies Primarily Serving Persons 
With Disabilities; (5) All Armed Forces Recruitment Offices; (6) All 
Other Agencies Designated by the State; and (7) All Other Means 
(Including In-Person, Deputy Registrars, Organized Voter Registration 
Drives Delivering Forms Directly to Registrars, etc.)

    The Commission received comments both favoring and opposing this 
reporting requirement. The nature of the objections varied from 
concerns regarding the cost and logistical problems of collecting such 
information, to statements that the state's current data system could 
not collect this information, to concerns that determining duplicate 
applications in agencies would result in the applicant's 
confidentiality being compromised.
    The Commission believes that it is important to gauge the level of 
overlapping voter registration activity from all categories of 
registration sources. Collecting such information will lead to better 
registration site selection and can indicate the need for improved 
voter information regarding the absence of the need to re-register if 
one is already registered and has not changed address.
    Although the collection of this information might present 
difficulties for some jurisdictions, it is needed to meet the 
Commission's legal responsibility to accurately report to the U.S. 
Congress on the impact of the NVRA on the administration of elections. 
Moreover, mechanisms exist (such as coding techniques using an alpha-
numeric identifier) which would allow for the accurate reporting of 
this information while maintaining the confidentiality of the applicant 
in those instances in which confidentiality is a primary concern. 
Accordingly, paragraph 8.7(b)(7) requires the number of duplicate 
registration applications received from each category identified above.

H. The Statewide Number of Confirmation Notices Mailed Out Between the 
Past Two Federal General Elections and the Statewide Number of 
Responses Received to These Notices During That Same Period

    Paragraph 8.7(b)(8) requires that such information be reported, 
absent any specific objections to the NPRM on the inclusion of this 
reporting requirement, because the Act requires that registrars mail 
out confirmation notices to certain types of registrants, and because 
the Act further requires that states maintain records of all such 
mailings along with information concerning whether each recipient has 
responded to the notice. Such information is important in assessing the 
impact of the NVRA on the administration of elections and, in states 
which do not distinguish between ``active'' and ``inactive'' 
registrants, such numbers are essential to adjusting overall 
registration figures.

I. In the State's First Report, a Brief Narrative Description of the 
State's Implementation of the NVRA; and in Subsequent State Reports, 
Any Significant Changes to the Program

    Because the Act provides the states a number of options in 
complying with the NVRA, an overall description of how each state has 
initially implemented the Act is essential to assessing its impact. In 
order to enhance comparability across states, the Commission will 
provide on the FEC reporting form a series of questions with 
categorical responses requiring the state to indicate the options or 
procedures the state has selected in implementing the NVRA. This 
requirement is contained in paragraph 8.7(b)(9) of the final rules.
    In response to concerns of several commenters, the Commission notes 
that the last section of the reporting form will be left blank for 
states to include other information that they may wish to report, such 
as specific information on forms and systems used by the state to 
facilitate implementation of the Act, a description of those offices 
designated by the state as discretionary voter registration agencies, 
any programs or approaches to implementation that have proved 
especially innovative or successful in implementing the provisions of 
the NVRA, and any other additional information not covered in a 
specific category.
    In like manner, the Commission will inquire in all subsequent 
reports about any significant changes in each state's program.

J. Any Additional Information

    The NPRM proposed that no report on the impact of the NVRA on the 
administration of elections would be complete without identifying the 
types of problems encountered in its implementation and operation.
    Several commenters suggested that the Commission ask not only for 
problems encountered, but also for successes in the implementation and 
operation of the NVRA.
    New paragraph 8.7(b)(10) requires states to provide any additional 
information that would be helpful to the Commission in meeting the 
reporting requirement under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-7(a)(3). Accordingly, the 
Commission will provide an area on the reporting form for states to 
identify and describe any particularly successful program, any specific 
problems they have encountered (including any financial impact the 
states wishes to report) along with the measures they have taken to 
address any such problems, and any other information they deem 
relevant.

K. Miscellaneous Items

    Commenters suggested a number of additional items be reported that 
do not conveniently fit into any of the above categories.
    One advocated the inclusion of such miscellaneous items as: The 
number of bilingual registration forms distributed and the number of 
bilingual confirmation notices mailed for each covered language; the 
number of bilingual registration forms distributed and the number of 
confirmation notices mailed for each covered language, by jurisdiction, 
for each jurisdiction covered by the Voting Rights Act; voting age 
population (based on census statistics) by race and ethnicity; and the 
percent of whites and each protected class under the Voting Rights Act 
plus the percent of statewide voting age population reflected in each 
category of information to be reported under paragraph 8.7(b)(6), 
disaggregated to voter tabulation district and precinct level.
    Another commenter suggested that the Commission include a 
compilation and analysis of racial data relating to the impact of the 
law on historically disenfranchised groups.
    While the Commission acknowledges the concerns of many groups that 
the NVRA achieve one of its stated goals in opening and simplifying the 
voter registration process for those traditionally underenfranchised, 
such detailed statistical reporting would not be necessary to assess 
the impact of the NVRA on the administration of elections.
    As noted previously, however, the collection and retention of these 
and other types of demographic data relating to race may be necessary 
in those states that require race be included on the voter registration 
application in order to assist the Department of Justice in enforcing 
the Voting Rights Act.

II. Items Not To Be Reported

    For the reasons given, the Commission will not request reporting of 
the following items:

A. The Number of Declinations Filed at Agencies or Motor Vehicle 
Offices

    The Act requires that applicants at public assistance agencies be 
provided a form on which they may decline in writing to register to 
vote and permits, though does not require, such a procedure in motor 
vehicle offices. The majority of commenters agreed with the 
Commission's proposal not to include the number of declinations filed 
with the various agencies because of the ambiguous nature of this 
information and the substantial additional costs for recordkeeping. The 
person most strongly in favor of requiring information regarding 
declinations suggested that, if available with the reasons for the 
declinations, the results could be used to monitor whether states are 
in compliance with the Voting Rights Act, and if applicants are being 
denied effective access to the franchise. However, there are any number 
of reasons why a person may decline to register to vote, including that 
the person is already registered. Moreover, the same person may decline 
to register several times during the same two-year period at different 
agencies or even at the same agency. Retaining records on the number of 
declinations will therefore not be likely to yield any statistically 
useful information. The Commission also wishes to avoid discouraging 
agencies from participating in voter registration activities by 
imposing on them burdensome reporting responsibilities.
    Also, states must retain declinations for 22 months. 42 U.S.C. 1974 
et seq. States may want to ensure that such declinations are retained 
in such a manner as to be able to identify originating offices or 
agencies to permit an examination of declination patterns, if 
necessary.

B. The Number of Persons Voting Under the ``Fail-Safe'' Provisions of 
the NVRA

    One commenter requested that the Commission include information on 
the number of persons voting under the ``fail-safe'' provisions of 42 
U.S.C. 1973gg-6(e) in order to help determine the efficiency of the 
Act. These provisions permit certain classes of registrants to vote 
that were formerly unable to do so because of bureaucratic or legal 
technicalities.
    The NVRA specifically affords states considerable latitude in how 
to administer the ``fail-safe'' voting process. The procedures adopted 
in some states, therefore, will generate statistics on the number of 
``fail-safe'' voters more readily than will the procedures adopted in 
others. Moreover, in some instances it may be difficult to distinguish 
between voters utilizing the ``fail-safe'' procedures developed in 
accordance with the Act and those utilizing existing state provisions 
for casting a provisional ballot.
    For these reasons, the Commission is not seeking this information.

C. The Number of Persons Newly Registered Between the Past Two Federal 
General Elections Who Voted in the Past Federal General Election

    No comments were received regarding this item. Because whether or 
not registered persons subsequently vote is a matter driven by a 
multitude of variables outside the Act, and also because election 
officials do not routinely undertake the burdensome task of gathering 
information on the subsequent voting of a specific group of 
registrants, the Commission is not requiring this information.

D. The Postal Costs Incurred Statewide Between the Past Two Federal 
General Elections for All Mailings Required Under the NVRA

    Comments on the proposal to report the postal costs incurred 
statewide for all mailings required under the NVRA were generally 
negative. Most commenters questioned the necessity of collecting this 
information, and felt that the administrative costs of gathering the 
information would impose a considerable additional financial burden on 
localities. Other commenters stated that for many smaller 
jurisdictions, the data gathered would be incomplete and unreliable.
    Of those commenters in favor of including postal costs, a few went 
beyond the scope of the proposed rules and stated that they would like 
to see not only postal costs reported, but also all other costs 
associated with the implementation of the NVRA.
    These comments have persuaded the Commission to delete this 
requirement from the final rules. This would not preclude states from 
voluntarily providing this information in their biennial report to the 
Commission.

E. Other Implementation or Operating Costs of the NVRA

    As was the case with the ANPRM, a number of commenters to the NPRM 
wanted to report other implementation and operating costs of the NVRA. 
For a number of very practical reasons, however, the Commission is not 
seeking such data.
    First, states will approach the NVRA from many different starting 
points. The costs of newly implementing any of these programs will 
entail an upfront expenditure which could not be compared to any new 
costs incurred by states that already administer some or all of the 
required programs.
    Second, states vary considerably in their degree of computerization 
in election offices as well as in motor vehicle and public assistance 
agencies. Computerization at both the state and local levels will 
result in apparent reduced operating costs in states that already 
employ such technology.
    The Commission also recognizes that the different implementation 
strategies of the various states will likely show different kinds of 
costs and therefore comparisons and even total cost figures would be 
misleading.
    Finally, it is the experience of this Commission in conducting 
previous research on election costs, that few election offices are able 
to isolate their election related costs from the costs of other non-
election-related office activities. However, this would not preclude 
states from voluntarily reporting other costs (e.g., in the brief 
narrative description of the state's implementation of the NVRA section 
of the report).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    One commenter argued that the proposed rules would violate the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) because of the impact 
on small entities. However, as the commenter notes, both the NVRA and 
the rules are directed to the covered states and not to local 
jurisdictions. Under the rules, the covered states will choose their 
own methods of implementing these requirements.

List of Subjects in 11 CFR Part 8

    Elections, National Voter Registration Act, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

Certification of No Effect Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b) [Regulatory 
Flexibility Act]

    The attached final rules will not, if promulgated, have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The basis for this certification is that few, if any, small entities 
will be directly affected by these rules.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, new Part 8 is added to 
Chapter I of Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 8--NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION ACT (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-1 et 
seq.)

Subpart A--General Provisions

Sec.
8.1  Purpose & scope.
8.2  Definitions.

Subpart B--National Mail Voter Registration Form

Sec.
8.3  General Information.
8.4  Contents.
8.5  Format.
8.6  Chief State Election Official.

Subpart C--Recordkeeping and Reporting

Sec.
8.7  Contents of reports from the states.

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-1 et seq.

Subpart A--General Provisions


Sec. 8.1  Purpose & scope.

    The regulations in this part implement the responsibilities 
delegated to the Commission under Section 9 of the National Voter 
Registration Act of 1993, Public Law 103-31, 97 Stat. 77, 42 U.S.C. 
1973gg-1 et seq. (``NVRA''). They describe the format and contents of 
the national mail voter registration form and the information that will 
be required from the states for inclusion in the Commission's biennial 
report to Congress.


Sec. 8.2  Definitions.

    As used in this part:
    (a) Form means the national mail voter registration application 
form, which includes the registration application, accompanying general 
instructions for completing the application, and state-specific 
instructions.
    (b) Chief state election official means the designated state 
officer or employee responsible for the coordination of state 
responsibilities under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-8.
    (c) Active voters means all registered voters except those who have 
been sent but have not responded to a confirmation mailing sent in 
accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-6(d) and have not since offered to 
vote.
    (d) Inactive voters means registrants who have been sent but have 
not responded to a confirmation mailing sent in accordance with 42 
U.S.C. 1973gg-6(d) and have not since offered to vote.
    (e) Duplicate registration application means an offer to register 
by a person already registered to vote at the same address, under the 
same name, and (where applicable) in the same political party.
    (f) State means a state of the United States and the District of 
Columbia not exempt from coverage under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-2(b).
    (g) Closed primary state means a state that requires party 
registration as a precondition to vote for partisan races in primary 
elections or for other nominating procedures.

Subpart B--National Mail Voter Registration Form


Sec. 8.3  General information.

    (a) The national mail voter registration form shall consist of 
three components: An application, which shall contain appropriate 
fields for the applicant to provide all of the information required or 
requested under 11 CFR 8.4; general instructions for completing the 
application; and accompanying state-specific instructions.
    (b) The state-specific instructions shall contain the following 
information for each state, arranged by state: the address where the 
application should be mailed and information regarding the state's 
specific voter eligibility and registration requirements.
    (c) States shall accept, use, and make available the form described 
in this section.


Sec. 8.4  Contents.

    (a) Information about the applicant.
    The application shall provide appropriate fields for the 
applicant's:
    (1) Last, first, and middle name, any suffix, and (optional) any 
prefix;
    (2) Address where the applicant lives including: street number and 
street name, or rural route with a box number; apartment or unit 
number; city, town, or village name, state; and zip code; with 
instructions to draw a locational map if the applicant lives in a rural 
district or has a non-traditional residence, and directions not to use 
a post office box or rural route without a box number;
    (3) Mailing address if different from the address where the 
applicant lives, such as a post office box, rural route without a box 
number, or other street address; city, town, or village name; state; 
and zip code;
    (4) Month, day, and year of birth;
    (5) Telephone number (optional); and
    (6) Voter identification number as required or requested by the 
applicant's state of residence for election administration purposes.
    (i) The application shall direct the applicant to consult the 
accompanying state-specific instructions to determine what type of 
voter identification number, if any, is required or requested by the 
applicant's state.
    (ii) For each state that requires the applicant's full social 
security number as its voter identification number, the state's Privacy 
Act notice required at 11 CFR 8.6(c) shall be reprinted with the 
instructions for that state.
    (7) Political party preference, for an applicant in a closed 
primary state.
    (i) The application shall direct the applicant to consult the 
accompanying state-specific instructions to determine if the 
applicant's state is a closed primary state.
    (ii) The accompanying instructions shall state that if the 
applicant is registering in a state that requires the declaration of 
party affiliation, then failure to indicate a political party 
preference, indicating ``none'', or selecting a party that is not 
recognized under state law may prevent the applicant from voting in 
partisan races in primary elections and participating in political 
party caucuses or conventions, but will not bar an applicant from 
voting in other elections.
    (8) Race/ethnicity, if applicable for the applicant's state of 
residence. The application shall direct the applicant to consult the 
state-specific instructions to determine whether race/ethnicity is 
required or requested by the applicant's state.
    (b) Additional information required by the Act. (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-
7(b)(2) and (4)).
    The form shall also:
    (1) Specify each eligibility requirement (including citizenship). 
The application shall list U.S. Citizenship as a universal eligibility 
requirement and include a statement that incorporates by reference each 
state's specific additional eligibility requirements (including any 
special pledges) as set forth in the accompany state instructions;
    (2) Contain an attestation on the application that the applicant, 
to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, meets each of his or 
her state's specific eligibility requirements;
    (3) Provide a field on the application for the signature of the 
applicant, under penalty of perjury, and the date of the applicant's 
signature;
    (4) Inform an applicant on the application of the penalties 
provided by law for submitting a false voter registration application;
    (5) Provide a field on the application for the name, address, and 
(optional) telephone number of the person who assisted the applicant in 
completing the form if the applicant is unable to sign the application 
without assistance;
    (6) State that if an applicant declines to register to vote, the 
fact that the applicant has declined to register will remain 
confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes; and
    (7) State that if an applicant does register to vote, the office at 
which the applicant submits a voter registration application will 
remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration 
purposes.
    (c) Other information. The form will, if appropriate, require an 
applicant's former address or former name or request a drawing of the 
area where the applicant lives in relation to local landmarks.


Sec. 8.5  Format.

    (a) The application shall conform to the technical specifications 
described in the Federal Election Commission's National Mail Voter 
Registration Form Technical Specifications.
    (b) Size. The application shall consist of a 5'' by 8'' application 
card of sufficient stock and weight to satisfy postal regulations. The 
application card shall be attached by a perforated fold to another 5'' 
by 8'' card that contains space for the information set forth at 11 CFR 
8.4(c).
    (c) Layout.
    (1) The application shall be sealable.
    (2) The outside of the application shall contain an appropriate 
number of address lines to be completed by the applicant using the 
state information provided.
    (3) Both sides of the application card shall contain space 
designated ``For Official Use Only.''
    (d) Color. The application shall be of ink and paper colors of 
sufficient contrast to permit for optical scanning capabilities.
    (e) Signature field. The application shall contain a signature 
field in lieu of a signature line.
    (f) Type size.
    (1) All print on the form shall be of the largest practicable type 
size.
    (2) The requirements on the form specified in 11 CFR 8.4(b)(1), 
(6), and (7) shall be in print identical to that used in the 
attestation portion of the application required by 11 CFR 8.4(b)(2).


Sec. 8.6  Chief state election official.

    (a) Each chief state election official shall certify to the 
Commission within 30 days after July 25, 1994:
    (1) All voter registration eligibility requirements of that state 
and their corresponding state constitution or statutory citations, 
including but not limited to the specific state requirements, if any, 
relating to minimum age, length of residence, reasons to disenfranchise 
such as criminal conviction or mental incompetence, and whether the 
state is a closed primary state.
    (2) Any voter identification number that the state requires or 
requests; and
    (3) Whether the state requires or requests a declaration of race/
ethnicity;
    (4) The state's deadline for accepting voter registration 
applications; and
    (5) The state election office address where the application shall 
be mailed.
    (b) If a state, in accordance with 11 CFR 8.4(a)(2), requires the 
applicant's full social security number, the chief state election 
official shall provide the Commission with the text of the state's 
privacy statement required under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a 
note).
    (c) Each chief state election official shall notify the Commission, 
in writing, within 30 days of any change to the state's voter 
eligibility requirements or other information reported under this 
section.

Subpart C--Recordkeeping and Reporting


Sec. 8.7  Contents of reports from the states.

    (a) The chief state election official shall provide the information 
required under this section with the Commission by March 31 of each 
odd-numbered year beginning March 31, 1995 on a form to be provided by 
the Commission. Reports shall be mailed to: National Clearinghouse on 
Election Administration, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, 
NW., Washington DC 20463. The data to be reported in accordance with 
this section shall consist of applications or responses received up to 
and including the date of the preceding federal general election.
    (b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, the report 
required under this section shall include:
    (1) The total number of registered voters statewide, including both 
``active'' and ``inactive'' voters if such a distinction is made by the 
state, in the federal general election two years prior to the most 
recent federal general election;
    (2) The total number of registered voters statewide, including both 
``active'' and ``inactive'' voters if such a distinction is made by the 
state, in the most recent federal election;
    (3) The total number of new valid registrations accepted statewide 
between the past two federal general elections, including all 
registrations that are new to the local jurisdiction and re-
registrations across jurisdictional lines, but excluding all 
applications that are duplicates, rejected, or report only a change of 
name, address, or (where applicable) party preference within the local 
jurisdiction;
    (4) If the state distinguishes between ``active'' and ``inactive'' 
voters, the total number of registrants statewide that were considered 
``inactive'' at the close of the most recent federal general election;
    (5) The total number of registrations statewide that were, for 
whatever reason, deleted from the registration list, including both 
``active'' and ``inactive'' voters if such a distinction is made by the 
state, between the past two federal general elections;
    (6) The statewide number of registration applications received 
statewide (regardless of whether they were valid, rejected, 
duplicative, or address, name or party changes) that were received from 
or generated by each of the following categories:
    (i) All motor vehicle offices statewide;
    (ii) Mail;
    (iii) All public assistance agencies that are mandated as 
registration sites under the Act;
    (iv) All state-funded agencies primarily serving persons with 
disabilities;
    (v) All Armed Forces recruitment offices;
    (vi) All other agencies designated by the state;
    (vii) All other means, including but not limited to, in person, 
deputy registrars, and organized voter registration drives delivering 
forms directly to registrars;
    (7) The total number of duplicate registration applications 
statewide that, between the past two federal general elections were 
received in the appropriate election office and generated by each of 
the categories described in paragraphs (b)(6) (i) through (vii) of this 
section;
    (8) The statewide number of confirmation notices mailed out between 
the past two federal general elections and the statewide number of 
responses received to these notices during the same period;
    (9) Answers to a series of questions with categorical responses for 
the state to indicate which options or procedures the state has 
selected in implementing the NVRA or any significant changes to the 
state's voter registration program; and
    (10) Any additional information that would be helpful to the 
Commission for meeting the reporting requirement under 42 U.S.C. 
1973gg-7(a)(3).
    (c) For the State report due March 31, 1995, the chief state 
election official need only provide the information described in 
paragraph (b)(1) of this section and a brief narrative or general 
description of the state's implementation of the NVRA.

    Dated: June 17, 1994.
Danny L. McDonald,
Vice Chairman.
[FR Doc. 94-15199 Filed 6-22-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6715-01-M