FoCE Members Release New Resource on California’s New Motor Voter Law

  • By Astrid

  • November 9th, 2015

Future of California Elections members released a timely resource to explain California’s New Motor Voter Law.

Click here to access California’s New Motor Voter Law: Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATE: AB 1461 FAQ is now available in Spanish, click here.

The ACLU of California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, California Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of California and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials have a long history of supporting access for California’s diverse communities and this new resource explains how the new law will benefit voters and when it will come into place. California’s New Motor Voter Law: Frequently Asked Questions, is available online in English and a version in Spanish is forthcoming.

The document explains what California’s New Motor Voter law does:

“I heard that California passed a New Motor Voter law. What does it do?

The goal of the New Motor Voter law is to create an easy, automated way to register to vote when you get a driver’s license or state ID card at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you have already given your name, address, birthdate, and other relevant information to the DMV, the hope is that you will be able to register to vote by simply confirming you are eligible and being given the opportunity to provide additional voter registration information such as your party preference, a preference to receive election materials in another language, or whether you want to get your ballot in the mail.

In addition, the New Motor Voter law requires the Secretary of State (SoS) and the DMV to develop technology to transmit data on unregistered voters from the DMV to the SoS that can be used for outreach and education purposes only.”

California’s New Motor Voter law was signed into law last month, a few months after Oregon signed their automatic voter registration. These two new laws mark big advancements in voter registration modernization. However, each state uses a distinct approach to modernizing voter registration by implementing policies that meet the needs of their unique demographics and infrastructure.

The California’s New Motor Voter Law: Frequently Asked Questions document explains the differences between California’s New Motor Voter law and Oregon’s Automatic Voter Registration:

    1. Is California’s New Motor Voter law the same as Oregon’s Automatic Registration law?

“No. California’s law is distinct from Oregon’s in four important ways:

      1. CA requires a person to attest that they are eligible to vote at the DMV before they can be registered.
      2. CA will offer the attestation and any other voter registration questions in 10 languages.
      3. CA will give a person the chance to decline voter registration at the DMV.
      4. CA’s law offers some protection against any state law penalties should someone inadvertently register to vote or mistakenly vote as a result of their DMV transaction. (Note: These state law protections may mitigate the potential federal immigration consequences for persons who inadvertently register to vote, but may not offer full protection.)”

The California’s New Motor Voter Law: Frequently Asked Questions document is a well-timed resource that summarizes an important change for voter registration in California. Californian’s can expect to see early implementation of the new law at the DMV before the 2016 elections and full implementation is anticipated by the 2018 elections.

Click here to access California’s New Motor Voter Law: Frequently asked Questions (Spanish Version)

Click here for NALEO Educational Fund’s related report Electronic Voter Registration: Modernizing our Democratic Process

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