With the stroke of a pen from Gov. Jerry Brown, California recently once again legalized online voter registration providing an additional opportunity for more than six million residents of voting age to register to vote. California law already allows for online voter registration, however the process on the books before the new legislation was approved was contingent upon the completion of the state’s federally approved voter registration database — VoteCal.
While the state does have a statewide voter registration database, the current system does not make it possible to fully register to vote online. Tired of waiting for the state’s fully federally compliant statewide voter registration database to come online San Francisco Senator Leland Yee introduced SB 397 which would allow counties to offer online voter registration now.
“This is an important first step toward fully upgrading California’s voter registration, making use of better technological tools to make the voter registration process more accurate, less expensive, and more efficient,” said David Becker, director of the Pew Center on the States’ Election Initiatives.
Under SB 397, citizens will input their voter information online and the county elections office would use the voter’s signature from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to verify authenticity. That signature can be matched against the voter’s signature at the polling place.
Currently voters can input all of their information online but instead of hitting send, they must hit print and send the completed form into their local county election office.
“At this time, Secretary of State Bowen has taken online voter registration as far as she can with the resources available,” explained Nicole Winger, a spokesperson for the secretary’s office.
Although no exact timeline has been given for the implementation of online voter registration, Yee and others are hopeful that it will be in place in advance of the June 2012 primary. The new law does have several contingencies in it though.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.