California Moves Forward with Voter Access and Turnout
California has been moving forward with trying to increase voter access and turnout throughout the last couple of years. Californians can already register to vote online and request a mail ballot without providing a reason. Ballots are counted even after arriving up to three days after Election Day, as long as the ballots are postmarked by Election Day. It is a bit surprising that California has been shifting rapidly towards increasing voter access and turnout, while other states have been moving more aggressively towards cracking down on alleged voter fraud. Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the election process, told the following to the Sacramento Bee,
On the whole, I’m really proud of California. We are definitely treating voters better than they are being treated in other states. The only thing sadder than people not voting is people trying to vote and not having their ballot be counted.
Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown even signed a measure requiring counties to provide prepaid postage for mail ballots so that people will not need to use a stamp to return their ballot by mail, which will go into effect starting next year. But despite all these efforts to increase voter access and turnout, there are some programs that can create unintended issues such as the Motor Voter program where the DMV admitted that it improperly registered about 1,500 customers to vote, some of who were not citizens. According to the Sacramento Bee, some legislators are already thinking about possible future legislation that would allow same-day registration, weekend voting locations,and create programs to help educate young people about how to vote. While some ideas to try to increase voter access and turnout are good setups in the right direction, other ideas are not fully thought out and poorly executed. Hopefully legislators learn from the mistakes of things such as the Motor Voter program and exercise more caution in the future when trying to increase voter access and turnout.