SACRAMENTO - As California Common Cause continues our work to increase public participation throughout the state, we welcome Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s willingness to explore new models for voter registration with the goal of expanding the political franchise to include 100% of eligible CA voters. Oregon took a big step toward this ideal last week when Governor Kate Brown signed a new Motor Voter law which modernizes and streamlines the voter registration process through departments of motor vehicles.
“We believe that there should be many automated pathways to register eligible voters quickly and seamlessly,” said Kathay Feng, Executive Director at California Common Cause. “Oregon is leading the way toward universal participation and California should follow suit.”
Oregon’s new Motor Voter bill has prompted a national, robust conversation about breaking down barriers for people who want to vote but encounter administrative roadblocks. For example, citizens who have completed the naturalization process shouldn’t have to fill out additional forms in order to register to vote, they should be automatically integrated into the voter rolls. States should explore additional ways to register eligible voters, looking at a number of different agencies that capture all demographics in order to enhance our current electorate so that it truly represents this country’s citizens. Any proposal that California ultimately adopts should protect people who do not wish to register or are ineligible under federal law.
“California is facing record low voter turnout. To facilitate participation, we need to restore the public’s trust in government by ensuring that voting is a convenient and rewarding experience for all,” Feng said. “Democracy is not just for those already in the system; it’s the right and responsibility of all its eligible citizens.”
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.