Are you getting or renewing your driver’s license in California soon? Don’t worry about registering to vote. California just became the second state in the country to pass a law creating automatic voter registration at the DMV.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill yesterday. And whereas some states are making it harder for people to vote, states like California and Oregon (the first in the nation with the program) shockingly seem to want their citizens to participate in our democracy.
“Citizens should not be required to opt-in to their fundamental right to vote,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement. “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.”
It seems like the DMV is the perfect place for automatic voter registration to happen, since you’re already there to apply for a government ID. But some people aren’t so happy about the program.
From the Associated Press:
Some Republican lawmakers say voters shouldn’t be forced to sign up. They warn that automatic registration could lead to voter fraud if people who are not eligible are accidentally registered.
Critics have also argued that merely increasing voter registration will not make Californians more engaged in the political process or interested in voting.
Nobody tell these Republican lawmakers about countries like Australia that have compulsory voting. I think their heads would explode.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)