National Change of Address process
United States Code, 2014 Edition
Title 52 - VOTING AND ELECTIONS
Subtitle II - Voting Assistance and Election Administration
CHAPTER 205 - NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION
Sec. 20507 - Requirements with respect to administration of voter registration
From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov
52 U.S.C.A. §20507
Maintaining accurate voter registration lists is critical to ensuring elections are secure. This Directive provides instructions to boards of elections for the National Change of Address (“NCOA”) and Supplemental Process components of the 2022 General Voter Records Maintenance Program. This uniform and nondiscriminatory program is designed to ensure that accurate and current voter registration rolls are maintained. Voters who likely moved are proactively contacted and given the opportunity to update their voter registration. The process also seeks to identify those who may no longer be qualified electors under the law and provide proper legal notice that their voter registration will be cancelled if they do not engage in any voter-initiated activity.
The general voter records maintenance program is a requirement of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (“NVRA”), commonly referred to as the “motor voter law.” The purposes of the NVRA are to increase the number of voter registrations for eligible citizens, to enhance the participation of eligible citizens in the voter process, to protect the integrity of the electoral process, and to ensure that accurate and current voter registration rolls are maintained. Additionally, state law requires local election officials to conduct the state’s general voter records maintenance program every year. There are two parts of Ohio’s implementation of the general voter records maintenance program:
- The NCOA Process, which is triggered when a voter record appears in the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) NCOA database, indicating that the voter associated with that record likely moved since the records were last compared, and may need to update their voter registration with the current voting residence address. Under state law, the Secretary of State matches voter records in the Statewide Voter Registration Database against the NCOA database to compile the data for the NCOA process.
- The Supplemental Process, which is triggered by a voter’s inactivity during a fixed period of time, generally two years. This process seeks to identify electors whose lack of voter-initiated activity indicates they may have moved, even though their names did not appear as a part of the NCOA process. County boards of elections use voter activity in their local voter registration system to compile the data for the supplemental process. Generally, the process begins after two years of voter inactivity and the voter has an additional four years for a total of six years of no voter activity before their registration is cancelled.