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Activists push bill to allow same-day voter registration

VoterRegistrationActivists are ramping up efforts to pass legislation that would allow Californians to register to vote on election day.

On Friday, the Courage Campaign, a liberal advocacy group, asked its members in an email to urge lawmakers to pass AB 1436, noting the low turnout in the June primary election. Just 31% of registered voters went to the polls or mailed in ballots.

Under current law, the window for voter registration closes two weeks before an election. The same-day registration bill, by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), would allow Californians to register during that time period,   including on election day. Democrats have long pushed similar measures, hoping to boost voter turnout -- and their own prospects.

Ten states have some form of election day voter registration.

Eddie Kurtz, director of campaigns for the Courage Campaign, estimated that the bill could increase turnout by 5% in California, or 850,000 voters, "enough to swing an election for governor or a critical ballot measure."

If successful, the bill would not be implemented in time for the November election.

County officials have raised concerns about the potential costs and delays of verifying the ballots of last-minute voters. Republicans have said the measure would invite voter fraud.

The bill passed the Assembly in May and now goes before policy committees in the state Senate.

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-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento

Twitter.com/mjmishak

Photo: A man registers to vote in Camarillo. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

 
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