Governor Signs Expanded Same Day Registration Law
- Kathay Feng
Today Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 439, authored by Senator Ben Allen, which will expand the availability of same-day voter registration in the 14 days leading up to election day. Same-day registration allows an eligible voter to register to vote then vote on the same day in the two weeks leading up to an election.
Under current law, with limited exceptions, a person must be registered to vote 15 days before an election to be able to vote. A law passed in 2012 (AB 1436, Feuer), set to go into effect in 2017, would allow same-day registration and voting in the 14 days prior to an election but only at a county registrar’s permanent offices, which greatly limits the accessibility of this reform. SB 439 corrects this by allowing counties to offer same-day registration and voting at any satellite offices they establish during in that same time period.
California Common Cause issued the following statement on the decision:
Statement by Kathay Feng, Common Cause California Executive Director:
“Expansion of same-day registration is an important victory for all voters in California. In the modern digital age, our elections should be open, accessible, and welcoming to all eligible and interested voters. That means meeting voters where they are, allowing same-day registration and voting to take place in multiple locations throughout the county. Senate Bill 439 is an important step to reversing the alarming trend of declining voter participation in California, especially among new voters.”
According to the latest figures from the Secretary of State, there are 6.6 million eligible Californians who are not registered to vote. In November 2014, 30.9 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote – the lowest rate for a state general election in more than 100 years.