Covered California Still ‘Assessing’ Voter Registration Efforts

If a public agency had $2.3 million tucked away for voter registration, you would think it could tell the public details – but not Covered California.
The health exchange said $1.4 million is for printing and mailing and the rest is for the policy unit.  No further details were given. A spokeswoman said that documents confirming that this money is going to voter registration and what exactly the money will be funding would not be available until June 19.  The Covered California Board is expected to approve the 2015-2016 budget on June 18.
The June revised budget has a voter registration line item for the Policy, Evaluation and Research Division. It’s zeroed out for the next fiscal year. But a comment in the budget says that funding has been put aside “to conform with current law as Covered California assesses how to meet this request in as effective a manner as possible.” Other than that, there are no other itemized funds targeted for its efforts. It’s unclear how the health exchange is going to reverse its lackluster registration.
Consumer Watchdog pointed out to Covered California at its May board meeting that is has failed to effectively implement its mandate to help enrollees register to vote. In 2014, Covered California started to comply with its voter registration duties after being threatened with legal action to spur movement. The health exchange started sending out nearly 4 million registration cards in March 2014 to make up for all the missed opportunities previously. Since then, more than 900,000 people have reenrolled and 500,000 new policyholders came on board. Despite all of these contact points, since March 2014, just 39,849 voter registration cards were returned through March 2015, and 8,175 registered online through to April 20 2015, for a total of 48,024, according to the Secretary of State.
The major contact point for people signing up is the online portal. But rather than keeping people on the Covered California site and streamlining voter registration into the enrollment process, the website forces enrollees to leave and go the Secretary of State’s website when they indicate they want to register. Unless Covered California does something fundamentally different, its best chances of registering eligible voters is behind it.
Read Consumer Watchdog's letter to Covered California's board for May meeting:

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