California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
Alex Padilla was sworn in as California Secretary of State on Jan. 5, 2015, becoming the first Latino elected to the position with a commitment to modernizing the office, increasing voter registration and participation, and strengthening voting rights.
A national leader on protecting voter privacy, Secretary Padilla was the first secretary of state to refuse the White House’s unprecedented request to obtain the personal data of every voter through the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The Secretary challenged the Commission’s agenda and appointees, believing the Commission’s efforts were a pretext to enacting voter suppression measures. Several secretaries of state agreed and advocates sued, followed by the commission disbanding in 2018.
To expand voting rights to more Californians, the Secretary sponsored legislation in 2015 to establish vote centers, expand early voting and implement same-day conditional voter registration through the Voter’s Choice Act. He also sponsored the New Motor Voter Act, which will eventually register to vote every eligible California citizen who goes to a DMV office to get a driver’s license or renew one, potentially registering millions. Secretary Padilla oversaw the state’s historic General Election in 2016 and worked with statewide partners to help add upwards of one million registered voters to the rolls. More than 19.4 million Californians were registered and more than 14.6 million cast ballots on Election Day – both state records.
Secretary Padilla is automating and digitizing business functions within his office, making it easier to do business in California. His new Bizfile California portal is helping hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs file important business documents with the state online.
Padilla’s parents emigrated from Mexico and raised their family in the working class community of Pacoima, California. He attended local public schools and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree. Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1999 at the age of 26 to represent the same east San Fernando Valley community where he grew up. His colleagues elected him in 2001 to the first of three terms as Council President, becoming the youngest member and the first Latino to serve in this capacity.