The largest expansion of youth voter access in American history will occur next year. A new bill, known as AB 1407, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, on February 26th, 2018, that will automatically pre-register all eligible sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote when they receive a California Driver’s License or California State ID. This bill will automatically pre-register approximately 200,000 sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote annually. AB 1407 was proposed by Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and was sponsored by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
AB 1407 updates the 2015 New Motor Voter Program, which allowed every eligible citizen, who requested a driver’s license or state ID, to be automatically registered to vote. This update will simply include automatic voter pre-registration for youth. Of course, young people have the option to opt out of pre-registration, if they wish.
“AB 1407 will increase voter engagement by removing the unnecessary step of pro-actively registering to vote, increasing the likelihood of a young person voting in future elections,” said Assemblymember McCarty. “We need more young people engaged in the political process and impacting issues like college access and affordability, climate change, healthcare, and housing. Voting is the first step to make a citizen an active part of the political process. This measure will make sure that all voices in California are heard.”
This bill is scheduled to take effect on January 1st, 2019.
Meanwhile, on March 5th, Sacramento County’s Department of Voter Registration and Elections hosted an open-house meeting where Sacramento residents were invited to learn about the California Voter’s Choice Act’s effects on available voting options and to experience the new voting system technology that will be implemented in the June 2018 Primary Election. The open-house meeting was hosted at the Department of Voter Registration and Elections building from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM.
As per the procedure of the California Voter’s Choice Act, all Vote Center locations will be open two weeks before Election Day so that voters may vote on a day that is convenient with their schedule. Voters can visit any Vote Center within the county and staff will be available to provide assistance in multiple languages, help voters with disabilities, and update voter registration information. Of course, rather than attending Vote Centers, voters will have the options to vote by returning their ballots through mail or by dropping it off in the nearest county drop-box.