California's Governor, Jerry Brown, signed a bill that legalizes the automatic registration of citizens to vote. Brown signed the California New Motor Voter Act on October 10 with only hours to spare before it would have become automatically vetoed.
California is the second state to pass automatic voter registration after Oregon legalized it earlier this year. The author of the Bill, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), said the new law is based on Oregon's law.
There are 6.6 million Californians who are eligible to vote, but not registered. Advocates of automatic registration believe the seamless procedure, which requires no additional forms, will register millions of new voters who visit a DMV to obtain or renew a driver's license.
California's Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, said "We do not have to opt-in to other rights, such as free speech or due process. The right to vote should be no different.”
While voter registration is automatic, Californians can opt-out of the process and change their party affiliation at any time. Before the law was signed, citizens who obtained or renewed a driver's licence could register to vote upon request but would have to register with another form.
In a statement, Brown said the new law will "help improve elections and expand voter rights and access in California." During the last election, in November 2014, California had a 42 percent turn-out rate.
Republicans overwhelmingly voted against the law in both chambers of California's Assembly, questioning how the state will determine eligibility of citizenship in a state that has the most illegal immigrants in the country.
In the beginning of 2015, illegal immigrants were allowed to obtain a California driver's license. As of July, half of all drivers' licenses went to an illegal immigrant.
To become registered to vote while obtaining a driver's license, residents must promise that they are a citizen of the United Sates, provide the last four digits of their social security number, and provide evidence of their date of birth. Illegal immigrants are exempt from providing a social security number
as proof of identity.
When the bill passed the Senate in September, Padilla told the Huffington Post
that potential voters "have to demonstrate proof of age, the vast majority of time people are showing a birth certificate or a passport, which also reflects citizenship. That’s arguably more secure than someone checking a box under penalty of perjury."
The Republican Party in California is shut out from holding any political power in California. The GOP holds no major state-wide office while the Democrats hold both chambers of the Assembly, the Governor's office and all eight major state-wide offices.
U.S. Navy personnel have discovered the remains of an American aviator who was shot down in combat over the Pacific Ocean in 1944. A team aboard USNS ...