Tag Archives: SB 381

Online Voter Registration?

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you’ll see a “Rock the Vote” Voter Registration Widget. Why did I put it at the bottom where nobody sees it? Well, mainly because you can’t really register to vote. Rather, you can get somebody to send you a filled out form that still requires you to sign and return it.  It’s convenient, but not all that effective. But real online voter registration? That would be great.

It’s not often that I praise Senator Ron Calderon, but I’ll give him credit for putting forward SB 381, a bill that would create real online voter registration. The bill would use the signature from your driver’s license or other DMV issued ID card as signature confirmation, if necessary, at the polling place.  In addition, you’ll have to enter your driver’s license #, DOB, and the last four digits of your social security number.  That’s quite a bit of information, but the old process of voter registration remains available offline.

A few Republicans even supported the measure.  It’s typically not a very Republican-ish idea to welcome new voters, but in the Elections committee, Ams. Niello and Adams decided that with all the security measures they could get behind it.  Not so for the Appropriations committee, where the vote went party-line style. Asm. Doug LaMalfa goes back to the voter fraud meme in order to get in on the voter suppression act:

“My main concern is that voting security is not tight enough as it is and allowing online registration won’t help,” said Assemblyman Doug La Malfa, R-Biggs (Butte County), who voted against the bill in committee. “We should set a high bar for people looking to vote and there are already a lot of fake IDs out there.”(SF Chronicle 7/30/08)

And there’s your fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans realize that the greater the voter turnout, the worse the results for them. Democrats, on the other hand, want to facilitate the process of democracy by allowing California citizens to vote. The choice is clear: build walls or escalators. I think it’s clear that for the process of democracy, we should be building those escalators to the voting booth.

The only remaining question is if we can do this, why can’t we do same-day voter registration? Same-day registration has worked in seven other states. And guess what, the top five states in voter turnout are among them. I understand that it would cost some money to implement, and take some time. But, who can really be against making it easier for us to vote? Oh that’s right, Doug LaMalfa doesn’t want to welcome new voters, he wants to build some nice gated community walls around our polling places.