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Liberal groups: O-Care breaking voting law

Two liberal voter rights advocacy groups sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday saying the voter registration services provided under the Affordable Care Act are “grossly inadequate” and violate the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

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Demos and Project Vote contend that the application process through the federal exchanges don’t provide sufficient voter registration services, and that the “several million” people who have sought coverage under ObamaCare “did not receive an effective offer to register to vote as required by law.”

“[We] request that you direct the Department of Health and Human Services to make the changes necessary to ensure compliance,” the letter reads.

According to the NVRA, government offices that provide public assistance of any kind are also deemed voter registration agencies, and must provide a host of voter registration services.

Demos and Project Vote maintain that this applies to the ObamaCare exchanges because “they provide public assistance within the states, including state Medicaid assistance.”

These agencies are required to provide voter registration application forms, must ask citizens if they would like to register or update their registration, and help applicants complete the application form “to the same degree as is provided in completing the health benefits application form.”

“The online portal and the paper application contain a question about voter registration that does not use the statutorily-required language and omits important disclosures,” according to the letter.

“Furthermore, providing only a voter registration link does not comply with the law and, from a practical perspective, is grossly inadequate. A link does not ‘distribute’ a voter registration application because it requires applicants to have access to a printer, which many applicants do not have,” it adds.

Demos and Project Vote say the current system requires potential voters to hunt for the form, download and print 25 pages of “mostly irrelevant information,” fill out the application by hand and send it in through the mail, which they say is burdensome.

In addition, the groups said the call centers do not offer any voter registration services, and that the healthcare navigators have not been “trained to offer the same level of assistance in completing voter registration applications that they offer in completing the Exchanges’ own application.”

Conservatives have long suggested that the voter-registration section of the healthcare law was politically motivated overreach designed to add Democrats to the voter rolls.

Now the administration is under pressure from liberal groups to be more proactive in that regard.

The White House did not return a request for comment.