Brown approves ‘motor voter law’
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.