By, Julia Matulionis |Staff Writer|
New to California, voter registration was made available online as of Wednesday Oct. 10.
Since then over 1 million Californians’ have used the electronic system to register. California voters were able to use their computers, smart phones, and iPad’s to fill out the application.
Prior to the presentation of the bill allowing this change [SB 397], U.S. citizens looking to register to vote had to fill out a paper version which you could obtain at places like the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the U.S. Post Office.
CSUSB Student Iviana-kia Ridgeway re-registered online this year. “It was actually really simple,” she said. “If you want to register online, you click the link, and it takes you through all the steps.”
According to CA Secretary of State, Debra Bowens’ website sos.ca.gov, the information provided in an online application must still be verified by a county elections official.
The report continues, “when it comes to determining a person’s eligibility to vote, preventing duplicate registrations, and adding a person to California’s official voter rolls, all the same safeguards are in place.”
“When I did the whole mail in to register, it was difficult because I didn’t know when they received it,” said Ridgeway on mailing in her voter application in 2008.
Online and electronic voter registration has increased voter registration rates in places like Arizona, who enacted the online voter registration in 2002.
Filling out paper registrations will still be available. “I mailed mine in. You don’t have to put a stamp on it because it has prepaid postage for the voter registration form,” said student Ja’net Moses. She continued,”I found the [printed] voter registration form to be non cumbersome … It wasn’t hard to do.”
With the addition of the new bill anyone who has a valid California drivers license or identification card could fill out their voter registration online.
The trick to this is that for a registration form to be valid it must contain a signature and a date, making it a legal affidavit.
Under existing law the DMV is required to capture an electronic signature for any persons whom have obtained a drivers licence or ID card.
Senator Leland Yee, Ph.D., the man who introduced the bill in California, put two and two together by linking voter registration with the DMV signature files allowing for online registration to become a reality.
Paperless registration can add up for CA’s budget as well.
According to Voter Registration in a Digital Age, by Christopher Ponoroff, it can cost an average of 83 cents to process paper applications versus an average of 33 cents to process an electronic application.
These may sound like small numbers but they add up, according to SOS reports as of Sept. 7, over 17 million California’s were registered to vote, (72 percent).
The official count of registered voters will be released after verification processing on Nov. 2.
Voter registration ended Oct. 22, due to CA state law requiring all applications to register be in 15 days prior to election day.
This is much later than a majority of the other states requiring registration forms be turned in 30 days prior to election.