California begins online voter registration

From The Sacramento Bee:

Registering to vote will be as easy as pushing a button under a long-awaited online system to be launched today by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
The unveiling comes at a crucial time, with balloting set Nov. 6 to decide the presidency, congressional races, legislative seats and ballot measures that include two multibillion-dollar tax hikes.
“This is great news for democracy,” said Shannan Velayas, Bowen’s spokeswoman. “Registering to vote will be easier than ever.”

Californians will have more than a month to use the push-button registration system before the Oct. 22 deadline to qualify for casting ballots this year.

More than 6 million people have the right to register to vote, but have not yet done so, according to state records.

California’s voter rolls totaled 17.1 million people – 72 percent of those eligible – shortly before the June primary election.

Until now, potential voters could fill out a registration form on the secretary of state’s website, but they would have to print out and sign a paper copy for signature verification by county elections officials.

The new system will allow the entire registration process to occur electronically, with no paper copy. Applicants will fill out a state form, then submit an electronic signature to be checked against Department of Motor Vehicle records.

Because of the need to coordinate with DMV, the new system can serve only Californians who possess a driver’s license or identification card.

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