California’s New Motor Voter Act is a huge win for voter participation

In 2014, the state of California ranked 38th in voter registration and 43rd in voter participation, with nearly 7 million Californians who were eligible to vote but unregistered. That’s why the New Motor Voter Act, which was just passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, is such a huge step in the right direction.

California Secretary of State and bill sponsor Alex Padilla said in a statement:

“In a free society, the right to vote is fundamental. I ran for Secretary of State to expand access to the polls. Government should not impede a citizen’s right to vote. The New Motor Voter Act will make our democracy stronger by removing a key barrier to voting for millions of California citizens. I applaud Governor Brown for his leadership and bold action to increase voter participation in our state,” said Padilla.

The law makes California the second state (after Oregon) to automatically register people to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license. It will help level the playing field in elections and could lead to a more representative and progressive legislature.

This win for voter registration is thanks in part to CREDO activists. Nearly 18,000 of them petitioned the California Senate to pass the law, and hundreds called Governor Brown asking him to sign the measure.