Californians Can Register to Vote on Election Day at Any Polling Place Under New Law

October 9, 2019by John Myers
HERMOSA BEACH, CA - MARCH 03, 2015: Voters form long line to vote at the Hermosa Beach Community Center gymnasium on MARCH 03, 2015. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times/TNS)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians will be able to register to vote on Election Day at local polling places and voting centers under legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, a potentially significant step toward boosting turnout in key contests next year.

The new law provides for a significant expansion of so-called conditional voter registration, which allows a new voter to cast a ballot that is counted after eligibility is determined during the 30-day vote-counting period after an election. That process began in last year’s statewide election, but registration was only available in county elections offices. Starting next year, voters can register on Election Day anywhere ballots are cast.

Sixteen states, along with the District of Columbia, already allow Election Day voter registration. Supporters have argued the laws boost turnout, as some voters become energized by political campaigns only after registration deadlines have passed. Prior to Newsom signing the new law, California’s voter registration deadline was 15 days before Election Day.

California voting rights advocates have been pushing for what’s broadly known as “same-day registration” for years. Lawmakers gave approval to the first phase of the program in 2012, but made it contingent on the completion of a new statewide voter registration database — which was certified in 2016, more than a decade overdue. Elections officials reported about 57,000 Californians used the last-minute registration process in 2018 — a relatively modest amount that could be attributed to the fact that most counties only offered same-day registration at just one elections office.

The new law will change that. In counties with neighborhood polling places, voters will be given a ballot for their precinct or — in the event that’s not possible — told that their vote will be counted only in races for which they are eligible.

Fifteen counties, including Los Angeles, will conduct next year’s election under a 2016 law that uses a limited number of multipurpose “vote centers” instead of polling places. In those counties, new voters should be able to have ballots printed that match the precinct in which they are registered.

The option to register on Election Day also provides another service: It allows a voter to change party preference at the last minute. That could alleviate the complaints lodged by some voters in 2016 who thought they were unaffiliated independent voters and thus eligible to vote in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary.

Those voters, in fact, mistakenly registered with the American Independent Party, confusion documented in a 2016 Los Angeles Times investigation. Democratic Party rules stated AIP voters could not request a ballot in that year’s race between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Under the law signed on Tuesday, any voter can re-register on Election Day.

As many as 6 million Californians are eligible to vote but not registered. Advocates believe the new law could significantly reduce that number, particularly as more people realize they can make the decision at the last minute.

———

©2019 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

2020 Elections

The Uncertainty of Government Run Healthcare Health
The Uncertainty of Government Run Healthcare
October 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Accustomed as they are to believing government can do a great deal of good for a great many, serious Democrats have grown increasingly concerned over the potential long-term ramifications of Medicare for all proposals. While it's easy -- and perhaps hopeful -- to view... Read More

California Independents Can Cast Ballots for Democrats — But Not Trump — In March Primary 2020 Elections
California Independents Can Cast Ballots for Democrats — But Not Trump — In March Primary

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California voters who are unaffiliated with a political party will be able to participate in the Democratic presidential primary next year, but they will be prohibited from casting ballots for President Donald Trump or any possible Republican challenger, according to information released Monday... Read More

Trump Trails Top Democrats in New Minnesota Poll 2020 Elections
Trump Trails Top Democrats in New Minnesota Poll

MINNEAPOLIS — President Donald Trump trails several leading Democratic candidates, as well as U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, at this point in the presidential campaign in Minnesota, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. The two current front-runners for the Democratic nomination, former Vice President Joe... Read More

Facebook Identifies Iranian, Russian Foreign Influence Campaigns 2020 Elections
Facebook Identifies Iranian, Russian Foreign Influence Campaigns

NEW YORK — Facebook Inc. discovered four separate misinformation networks — three tied to Iran and one to Russia — that the social network said it shut down as part of an ongoing effort to counter “foreign influence campaigns.” Facebook said that the “coordinated inauthentic behavior”... Read More

Democrats Seek Insider Trading Probe After ‘Trump Chaos’ Article Finance
Democrats Seek Insider Trading Probe After ‘Trump Chaos’ Article

WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers are increasingly demanding that U.S. authorities investigate allegations raised in a recent magazine article that traders might be using nonpublic government information to reap huge illegal profits, even as the exchange where the transactions purportedly took place called the story “patently false.”... Read More

Judge Could Soon Order SC Republicans to Hold 2020 Primary State News
Judge Could Soon Order SC Republicans to Hold 2020 Primary
October 18, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A circuit court judge in South Carolina heard more than two hours of oral arguments Friday in a lawsuit challenging the state GOP executive committee's vote last month to forgo a 2020 Republican presidential primary. In the end, Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman indicated her... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top