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Bill Allowing Online Voter Registration Clears Assembly

Legislation could allow voters to register online in time for 2012 election.

Sacramento, CA—Legislation pushing the state to allow online voter registration in time for the 2012 election passed the California state assembly today.  The bill SB 397 (Yee) will make the voter registration process more accurate and less expensive in addition to engaging more citizens.

“As someone who has stood for hours on campus quads with registration forms and a clipboard, I know this bill will make it easier for new voters to participate in our democracy,” said Vince Slevin, UCLA student and CALPIRG Student Board Chair. “Students register for classes, pay their bills, and turn in their homework online—registering to vote online will just be so much easier.”

The Student PIRG’s New Voters Project registered 118,000 young voters across the country in time for the 2008 election.  Simplifying and streamlining the process here in California will make it even easier to get young people involved.  Since 2003 the New Voter’s project has registered more than 700,000 young voters. 

In addition to creating a new and easier way to engage voters in the process, this legislation will also save counties money.  Paying staff to enter hand written registrations into county databases, and deal with errors costs counties millions of dollars every election.  Orange county alone spent almost $2.5 million on staff to deal with registrations in 2008.

“This is a shot in the arm for California to help the state catch up with the 21st century,” added Pedro Morillas CALPIRG Legislative Director.  “Our outmoded voter registration system is costing us money and making it harder than it should be for citizens to participate in the democratic process.”
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The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) is a result-oriented public interest group that protects consumers, encourages a fair sustainable economy, and fosters responsive democratic governance.

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