The Motor Voter Act took effect Jan. 1 and made headlines as California became one of the first states to automate voter registration when people visit the Department of Motor Vehicles. Though sold as one way to help boost the state’s dismally low voter turnout rates, improvement in the numbers may not materialize, at least not immediately. As more people join the state’s voter rolls, they won’t necessarily show up to vote, and that could drive the rates down even lower. California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla says he heard that possible outcome used as an argument against the new law when pushing for its passage, but in his view, it’s an argument that doesn’t hold up.
“The real way to look at it is: will the raw number of people casting ballots in future elections go up? I believe they will, and that’s where we’re keeping our focus and our energy,” he said.
Answering questions after taping a Take Two segment on Monday, Padilla said automated voter registration at the DMV should be fully up and running no later than mid-2017.