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Gov. Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation that will register to vote every California citizen who is eligible to vote when they get or renew their driver’s license at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, potentially adding millions to California’s voter rolls.
The California New Motor Voter Act, AB 1461, was sponsored by Secretary of State Alex Padilla and supported by California members of U.S. Congress, Adam Schiff and Karen Bass.
“In a free society, the right to vote is fundamental. I ran for Secretary of State to expand access to the polls. Government should not impede a citizen’s right to vote. The New Motor Voter Act will make our democracy stronger by removing a key barrier to voting for millions of California citizens,” Padilla said. “Citizens should not be required to opt-in to their fundamental right to vote. We do not have to opt-in to other rights, such as free speech or due process. The right to vote should be no different.”
Padilla added that the Motor Voter Act will result in the largest sustained voter registration drive in history. Approximately 6.6 million California citizens are eligible but not registered to vote. Under the new law, California citizens who are identified as eligible voters when visiting the DMV to apply for, renew or change their address on a driver’s license will be registered to vote by the Secretary of State’s office. Voters will retain their right to cancel their voter registration, as well as change party affiliation.
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