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House Bill 336 — Motor Voter Act

House Bill 336 — Motor Voter Act

Lindsay Atkinson
January 24, 2020

Bill description: HB 336 would offer a new option for voter registration when Idahoans go in to renew their driver's licenses or state identification cards.

Rating: -1

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? 

Article 6, Section 2 of the Idaho Constitution establishes that every “male or female citizen of the United States, eighteen years old, who has resided in this state … if registered as provided by law, is a qualified elector.” HB 336 gives Idahoans another way to become a qualified elector.

Under HB 336, Idahoans would be able to register to vote — and thus become a qualified elector — when they renew their driver’s license or other state identification card. Giving Idahoans this opportunity streamlines the process for registration by offering them a way to tackle two government forms at once.


However, there is particular concern with the way this bill addresses voter registration. Though HB 336 makes this method of voter registration optional, the only way to be excluded from the registration process when Idahoans go in to renew their identification cards is to explicitly opt-out of registering to vote. Since Idahoans must explicitly opt-out, individuals who forget to opt-out, or for some reason are not offered that option, may become registered voters without giving their consent. 


Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board's purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector? 

This bill also transfers a function already embraced by civic-oriented nonprofits and other private community groups to the Idaho Transportation Department. Help with voter registration is a service currently offered by many organizations across Idaho as well as the nation, such as the League of Women Voters and the Idaho Democratic Party. This bill would transfer a service currently being offered through private dollars to public officials, who are paid by taxpayer public dollars.


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