In today’s fast-paced world, many of us end up looking for the most convenient way to squeeze things in. The internet has become an important tool to allow busy people and those with restricted mobility to do everything from paying bills to registering for college courses to setting up appointments with doctors.
So why penalize people by not allowing them to register to vote online?
Senate Bill 397 (Yee) will allow Californians to safely and securely register to vote online. Online voter registration will remove barriers to casting a ballot and allow hundreds of thousands of new voters to exercise their fundamental democratic rights at the polls.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, voter registration in California is on the decline with more than a quarter of all eligible citizens not registered to vote. If we want a true democracy for the people, we need to make sure that state laws do not restrict voting access for eligible citizens. Online voter registration will remove barriers to accessing the ballot box for countless Californians.
I’ve done a lot of voter outreach on college campuses over the years, and students especially fall into this category. Many of these young people have just become old enough to register for the first time and are engaged in the issues, yet they are limited on time, don’t own a printer or have limited transportation options, making the registration process challenging. Any organizer can tell you that the best way to get results is reduce the number of steps a person needs to go through to take action. Online voter registration will do just that.
The CA League of Conservation Voters – where I work – is especially interested in turning out the youth vote since their generation tends to support environmental issues and candidates overwhelmingly. In fact, we recently had a chance to flip a prized coastal district into the hands of an environmental champion for the first time, but needed high voter turnout from students to do so. It can easily be said that due to few of the youth from the district’s large college campus voting, we narrowly lost the race.
With many races decided by less than 1 percentage point these days, it’s critical to turnout as many voters as possible.
SB 397 will make voter registration more convenient, increase voter turnout, broaden California’s electorate, and empower all citizens to vote.
Update: SB 397 has passed the Assembly and is on its way to the Governor's desk! Thanks to all who signed the petition. Senator Yee presented the 1,000s of names at the bill's floor hearing. If you haven't signed the petition yet, please do so – we will be delivering it to Governor Brown in the coming days.
Please sign our petition in support of online voter registration – SB 397.