August 12, 2021

Watson Coleman Leads Colleagues in Letter to Secretary Yellen to Increase Voter Registration Opportunities at VITA Sites

Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) lead 14 of her colleagues in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen calling on her to increase access to voter registration at the nations thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program sites. Following research by the Brookings Institute, it’s estimated that offering voter registration at VITA sites nationwide would lead to about 115,000 registrations of eligible voters without slowing tax preparation times.

“While Republican legislatures around the country are introducing laws to make it harder for Americans to vote, everything must be done to secure this fundamental right,” said Watson Coleman. “Every effort must be made to combat these regressive tactics in the courts, in the legislature through bills like HR 1, and by the Biden administration by increasing access to voter registration information and making it easier for eligible voters to register. The best way to create opportunities to register is to provide registration materials at places in which many people interact.

On March 7th, President Biden signed an executive order tasking the heads of each federal agency with submitting a strategic plan outlining ways their agency could promote voter registration and participation. Forty-nine states require citizens to register before voting.

The letter also cites Rep. Watson Coleman’s Filer Voter Act, a bill modeled on the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, better known as the Motor Voter Law, which allowed voters to register to vote at their local motor vehicle department. The Filer Voter Act would require tax preparers to provide individuals the option to receive voter registration materials.

The letter was signed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Jim Cooper (TN-5), Dwight Evans (PA-3), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-3), Ro Khanna (CA-17), John B. Larson (CT-01), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5), Thomas Suozzi (NY-3), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), John Yarmuth (KY-3), Alma Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), and James P. McGovern (MA-2).