CA Lawmakers Should Approve All Mail Ballot System Next Session

If California lawmakers truly want to change our woeful voter participation, and listen to their constituents, they will quickly adopt Sen. Ben Allen's push for a statewide mail ballot system in the next legislative session. 
 
According to a Public Policy Institute of California survey, an overwhelming majority of registered voters who do not always vote say they are very or somewhat likely to vote if they automatically receive a mail in ballot. Coupled with enthusiasm for a new law by Assembywoman Lorena Gonzalez that provides automatic voter registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles, voter participation could skyrocket after statewide turnout of registered voters in the November 2014 election bottomed out at 42%. 
 
Allen's bill, SB 450, would allow counties to change to an all-mailed ballot election and expand the days allowed to cast the ballot.
 
The survey found that 71 percent of citizens who are not registered to vote said they are either very likely or somewhat likely to vote if they were automatically registered when using the DMV and 88 percent said were more likely to vote if they automatically received a ballot. Asked about the importance of their vote, 75 percent Californians agree with the statement that “voting gives people like me some say in what the government does.” Majorities across parties, age, education, and income groups agree. 
 
 
When it came to voters who were unregistered yet eligible to vote, the PPIC survey found seven in 10 citizens who are not registered to vote say they were either very likely (44%) or somewhat likely (27%) to vote if they were automatically registered when using the DMV, and importantly, since a large percentage of eligible voters who are not registered are Latinos, 60 percent of Latinos surveyed said they would be very likely to vote if mailed a ballot. 
 
After the disastrous voter participation rates of the 2014 election occurred, politicians of all stripes said they were determined to change the system. And they made some major progress. Along with the law that automatically registers drivers to vote either when get their licenses for the first time or renew, they also passed legislation that would allow counties to offer conditional voter registration and provisional voting at satellite offices other than on election day. In addition, they passed laws that allow an eligible voter who is at least 16 to preregister to vote and allow elections officials to set up secure drop boxes throughout a community where people can leave vote-by-mail ballots. 
 
California should keep pushing election reform. The public is  ready for it.  

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