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Waiting for Brown: Sign California Voting Reform

Automatic registration would transform voting in America. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign a bill that would help get 6.6 million eligible, but unregistered, citizens on the rolls.

October 6, 2015

Cross-posted at the Huffington Post.

Here is a mystery: Why hasn’t California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the best voting bill in the country?

Some background: One reason for our shamefully low turnout is America’s ramshackle voter registration system. States have slowly improved the process over the last decade. But this year, a bold new reform has caught on — automatic voter registration, starting at DMVs.

This would transform voting in America, by making it the government’s responsibility to sign up new voters, and ensure those records are accurate.

Oregon was the first state to pass this law in March. Hillary Clinton embraced automatic, universal registration in June. Now, the biggest breakthrough of all, California’s legislature passed a measure in September. State officials estimate it would help get 6.6 million eligible, but unregistered, citizens on the rolls.

Newspapers across the state (the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News) and nationwide (the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe) have come out strongly in support. And voices ranging from California Attorney General Kamala Harris to the SEIU to the Natural Resources Defense Council have urged Brown to sign the measure.

But still, the governor hasn’t said whether he will.

Here is the best argument as to why he should sign it:

Yes, that is the same Jerry Brown arguing passionately for automatic voter registration at the Democratic National Convention in 1992. Brown has long been a national leader on democracy reform. In fact, it was a key plank of his presidential campaigns decades ago.

But let’s make sure it doesn’t require time travel to bring this breakthrough reform to California.

Contact Jerry Brown today and tell him to sign automatic registration (AB 1461) into law and help transform voting in the Golden State. Call him at 916–445–2841.

(Photo: AP)