The world looks to California for 21st century innovation, especially for the application of technology that makes life less costly and more efficient.
Californians are well into the 21st century, working in the cloud, using smart phones and tablet computers, and getting their entertainment on-demand by satellite. But when it comes to voter registration, California seems to be stuck in the 18th century. State law won’t allow eligible citizens in our state to register online until at least 2015 — and maybe much later.
Fortunately, Californians may not need to wait much longer. A bill that would allow for online voter registration as soon as 2012 is making its way through the state Senate. SB397 would allow counties throughout the state to implement online voter registration systems for eligible citizens who already have a valid California driver’s license or state identification card. In order to be available to eligible Californians before the next major election cycle, however, SB397 would need to be passed immediately. The bill’s fate rests in the hands of the state Senate.
Online voter registration will not only increase the number of Californians who are registered to vote but, if done well, might also increase voter turnout in future elections. At this time, there are approximately 6.4 million eligible Californians who are not registered to vote. Allowing online registration will vastly simplify the registration process for those individuals. Permitting online registration in California will also generate significant cost savings — a boon to state and local governments struggling with dwindling budgets.