California Voter Registration Goes Online, Increasing Accessibility

While some states are making voting more difficult with voter ID laws, California has just made voting easier than ever.

With only about a month until California's voter registration deadline (Oct. 22), the state has finally enabled online voter registration. The system went live early Wednesday thanks to a 2011 bill authored by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).

"This is an incredibly exciting day for California and for our democracy," Yee said in a press release. “While some states are suppressing the rights of voters, here in California we are proudly increasing participation."

Registration takes about three minutes to complete online. Californians can now go here, and enter their driver's license number, date of birth and last four of their Social Security number. The system will search the Department of Motor Vehicles, and, if the information matches, registrants can authorize the use of an electronic image of their DMV signature. Then, county election officials will verify the information, Yee's office explained.

Californians are celebrating the system as more accessible, accurate, cost-efficient and time-efficient. The previous system of mailing in registration forms could take weeks and was vulnerable to error if the election clerks misread a person's handwriting. This also cuts the cost spent on such clerks, according to Yee's office.

And after only 44 percent of eligible Californians voted in 2008, election officials hope that online registration will increase voter registration and turnout. Because voters under 30 spend the most time online, Secretary of State Debra Bowen expects that there will be a particular uptick in Californians under 30 registering to vote, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Hours after the system went live, 3,000 new voters had already used the system to register, the Ventura County Star reports.



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