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Californians Can Now Register To Vote Online

Jackie Mansky |
September 20, 2012 | 12:52 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Registering to vote online will make it much easier for residents to vote come November. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Registering to vote online will make it much easier for residents to vote come November. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
California has become the 12th state to allow residents to register to vote online, a spokesperson for California Secretary of State Debra Bowen confirmed Thursday.

Before Bowen could even make the announcement in a press conference, 3,000 new voters had already gone online and used the system to register, the Ventura County Star reported.

In anticipation of the news, the Los Angeles Times praised the reform on Tuesday:

For decades, the process of registering to vote in California has been done manually. A prospective voter picks up a registration form at a local library or other distribution point, fills out the information and mails it in. A government worker checks the information and registers the voter. That can take weeks. The Internet, however, has compressed that process into minutes.

The convenience of registering to vote online may encourage more people to register and then vote come election day, said Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Mateo/San Francisco, who authored the 2011 bill to give California residents this option.

Yee said that six million eligible voters haven’t registered yet and in the 2008 presidential race, only 44 percent of eligible California voters actually submitted a ballot.  

"We need to find new ways to increase voter participation and I am hopeful that making it easier to register will help get more people involved," Yee said.

The decision is one more way in which states are trying to combat low voter turnout, regardless of party lines, Think Progress reported.

[Eleven] states across the ideological spectrum have opted to permit residents to register via the Internet, TP wrote, then cited a list of states that currently allow online voting, which included states from both sides of the ideological spectrum like Arizona and Washington.

Bowen, whose office was in charge of implementing the change, said that she expected that of all groups, online registration will especially target more youth to register to vote.

"I do think we'll have more people registering, particularly eligible voters under 30 who are just used to doing things online," Bowen told the San Francisco Gate.

To register to vote in Calfornia, all residents need to do now is go online to registertovote.com and submit their California driver license or identification card number, the last four digits of their social security number and their date of birth.

Californians voters have until Oct. 22 to register for the General Election on Nov. 6.


Read more of Neon Tommy's Coverage of the Presidential Election here.

Reach Staff Reporter Jackie Mansky here.



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