The California State Senate today approved SB 361 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) on a bipartisan vote of 29 to 9. The bill would modernize California’s voter registration system and increase online access to elections information. The bill now goes to the Assembly for consideration. “While many states provide online tools that allow citizens to register to vote, verify their registration, determine their polling place location and even determine the status of their ballot, California has fallen behind,” said Padilla. A report released earlier this year by the Pew Center on the States, ranked California 48th out of 50 states in election administration. The report utilizes 17 indicators that include the adoption of voting technology, the accuracy of voter rolls, reported problems with registration and absentee ballots, the voter registration rate and election turnout.
“We can and must do better. The strength of our democracy is a function of the level of civic engagement. SB 361 would modernize California elections and provide Californians online access to important election information,” said Senator Padilla.
Specifically, SB 361 would require the office of the California Secretary of State to maintain an accurate statewide voter registration database and allow voters to check their registration status, the status of their absentee ballot or the status of their provisional ballot online. Eighteen states provide easy online access to this information, while thirty-nine states provide online access to at least two of the four tools.
“I believe that voters should be able to verify their registration status and the status of their ballot online,” Padilla said. “This information will give voters greater confidence that their vote is counted and accounted for,” Padilla added.