Brown ap­proves ‘mo­tor voter law’

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has ap­proved leg­is­la­tion to make Cal­i­for­nia the sec­ond state in the na­tion to be­gin au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­ter­ing el­i­gi­ble vot­ers when they ob­tain or re­new their driver’s li­censes.

Brown an­nounced Satur­day that he had signed AB1461 by As­sem­bly­woman Lorena Gon­za­lez (D-San Diego), which aims to boost Cal­i­for­nia’s voter rolls by reg­is­ter­ing visi­tors to the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles.

It fol­lows Ore­gon’s move ear­lier this year to adopt the na­tion’s first au­to­matic voter reg­is­tra­tion law.

The leg­is­la­tion, backed by Demo­cratic Sec­re­tary of State Alex Padilla, calls for data col­lected by the DMV to be pro­vided to the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice, which would ver­ify a res­i­dent’s le­gal el­i­gi­bil­ity to vote be­fore reg­is­ter­ing them. Driv­ers would have the op­tion to opt out or can­cel their voter reg­is­tra­tion at any time.

Law­mak­ers ap­proved the “mo­tor voter law” this sum­mer and have held events around the state en­cour­ag­ing Brown to sign it. They say it could add mil­lions of newly reg­is­tered vot­ers to Cal­i­for­nia’s voter rolls, im­prov­ing a lack­lus­ter reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem that has led to some of the low­est par­tic­i­pa­tion rates in the coun­try.

Some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers say vot­ers shouldn’t be forced to sign up. They warn that au­to­matic reg­is­tra­tion could lead to voter fraud if peo­ple who are not el­i­gi­ble are ac­ci­den­tally reg­is­tered.

Crit­ics have also ar­gued that merely in­creas­ing voter reg­is­tra­tion will not make Cal­i­for­ni­ans more en­gaged in the po­lit­i­cal process or in­ter­ested in vot­ing.

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