The State of California launched an online voter registration system yesterday, and nearly 10,000 people logged on and signed up to vote. Officials anticipate that new, “click of a mouse” system will serve to increase voter turnout in the fall general election. Over one fourth of the 24 million eligible Californians residents are not registered to vote, one of the lowest rates of registration in the country.
Potential voters will be required to have a state drivers license or identity card, as the online system will search the Department of Motor Vehicles database for the applicant’s driver’s license or identification card number, date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security number. Once the information is verified, the voter can authorize elections officials to use an electronic image of their DMV signature to complete the application. After that, the voter only needs to click a “submit’’ button. County elections officials will still be required to verify the information.
Californians can register to vote up to 15 days before the election. For the Nov. 6 presidential election, the deadline for registering to vote is Oct. 22. The online voter registration system is reachable on the secretary of state’s website here.
A story in the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week shows just how much things are changing in the way people vote in California, with a growing number of people voting weeks in advance of the actual election date:
The portion of California voters who cast ballots by mail in the 2008 presidential election topped 41 percent, up from 17 percent in 1992. The trend is drastically changing the political landscape in the Golden State, from the way candidates and their consultants run campaigns to when races are actually decided.
With voters able to weigh in up to 29 days before election day, and close races sometimes taking weeks to sort out, the days of last-minute campaign pushes, a flood of late direct mail and “October surprises” – as well as election night results – may be ending, some experts say.
The biggest increase in vote-by-mail ballots has occurred over the last 20 years, from the 17 percent in 1992 to 24 percent in 2000. In 2008, just over 41 percent of voters passed up polling places to vote at home. More recently, in the June primary, 65 percent of voters cast ballots by mail, state records show.
This was lifted from today’s Starting Line at San Diego Free Press.