FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2015
Contact: Bill Mabie
SACRAMENTO – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) today announced that they will be working together to advance legislation modeled after Oregon's new Motor Voter law.
The California New Motor Voter Act, which would register every eligible citizen who goes to a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get a license, or renew one, while protecting the public's right to privacy and providing citizens the option of opting out.
Assembly Bill 1461 “The New Motor Voter Act” calls for data already being collected by the DMV to be provided to the Secretary of State to register eligible voters.
“One of the biggest barriers to citizen participation is the voter registration process. A new, enhanced California Motor Voter law would strengthen our democracy. It would be a game changer,” said Secretary Padilla. “While Oregon could expand its voter rolls by as much as 300,000 voters through their new enhanced Motor Voter process, California could expand it rolls by millions.”
“There are nearly seven million eligible but unregistered California citizens,” Padilla said. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Election Performance Index, California ranked 38th in voter registration in 2012.
“If we are serious about increasing voter turnout, we should follow Oregon’s lead and commit ourselves to registering as many California citizens as possible,” Padilla said.
“For all those citizens who want to exercise their voting rights, we should make every effort to facilitate their participation,” Padilla added.
In 1993, Congress enacted the National Voter Registration Act, or “Motor Voter” with findings recognizing that the right of citizens to vote is a fundamental right; it is the duty of federal, state, and local governments to promote the exercise of that right to vote; and the primary purpose of the Act is to increase the number of eligible citizens who are registered to vote.