California is poised to become the newest Election Day Registration (EDR) state. Currently, Californians must be registered two weeks ahead of Election Day, but under a new bill eligible voters would be allowed to register up to and on Election Day.
If Governor Brown signs the bill, California will join ten other states and the District of Columbia in allowing some form of same day registration–but it would not take effect until 2016 after the completion of a statewide voter database.
EDR is implemented differently in every state, and in California, voters needing to register on Election Day would have to visit a county registrar’s office (rather than their regular polling station) where they would be able to register and vote.
But that’s not all: beginning in September of this year, California voters will be able to register to vote online. For about six weeks leading up to the October 22nd registration deadline, voters will likely be able to register in “a one-click process.”
Although California voters can currently enter their information online and have a registration form automatically populated, they are still required to print, sign, and mail the form.
Online registration is made possible by coordination between the databases of the Secretary of State and the Department of Motor Vehicles, authorized by law last fall. Not only will online registration streamline the process for voters, it will also save counties staff time and money by reducing data input from paper forms and eliminating possible data-entry errors.
Although Secretary of State Bowen said her office will undertake an extensive public awareness campaign once the system is operational, she expects that “an awareness campaign will take care of itself.” Let’s help the good news travel fast ahead of November 6th!