SACRAMENTO - Defying the decision of California voters, majority Democrats today passed a measure that would allow citizens to register to vote on the same day as an election, jeopardizing the integrity of California's voting process. "Yet again, the majority party is putting political expediency ahead of good policy for the people of California," said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare. "By passing this measure they've put our elections at risk of rampant voter fraud and increased the possibility of duplicative voting."
Assembly Bill 1436, by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, would remove the requirement that citizens must register to vote at least 15 days before an election, allowing registration on the day voting takes place. It goes against the will of California voters who defeated a 2002 initiative to allow same-day voter registration.
The California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials opposes the bill because the group believes same-day registration will create numerous opportunities for voter fraud at polls. Despite the author's contention that same-day registration will require various forms of identification and cross-references with state and federal databases, recent amendments provide that if the identification information provided by the registrant does not match, he or she will still be allowed to vote. Thus, there will be no practical way to prevent persons from registering and voting multiple times on Election Day.
Counties also express concerns about the cost of implementing same-day voter registration. By some estimates, it will cost the state general fund as much as $500,000 because of its obligation to reimburse local governments for state mandates.
"This measure flies in the face of voters who have already rejected efforts to change our voter registration laws. The majority party should listen to the people and stop this blatant assault on our democracy," said Assistant Republican Leader Brian Jones, of Santee.
Assembly Bill 1436 was one of several bills up for consideration in the Assembly that would adversely impact elections in California. Others include the following:
- Assembly Bill 1805 (Huffman) - Would unnecessarily expand the right to vote in state and local elections to former California residents permanently living in foreign countries, as well as their foreign-born children, many of whom may have never lived in the state.
- Assembly Constitutional Amendment 12 (Gatto) and Assembly Constitutional Amendment 19 (Allen) - Two measures pushed by Democrats that would severely weaken California's initiative process and reduce the people's voice in Sacramento.
If the measures pass out of the Assembly, they will work their way through the Senate in the coming months. The deadline for passage of all bills from the Legislature to the Governor is August 31.