Online Voter Registration Launched in California
California became the twelfth state to offer online voting registration after it launched its new registration system Wednesday.
The new process was called "great news for democracy" by Secretary of State Debra Bowen. The new system will be made available for the first time before the November election begins.
The web feature's supporters say it will affect more than 6 million Californians who are qualified to vote but are not registered. However, Republicans who had opposed the bill which created complete online registration said the new system could possibly lead to voter fraud as well as additional costs.
The new law states that applicants can fill out a traditional paper form or complete a form online either on the secretary of state's website or at www.registertovote.ca.gov.
The application will include date of birth as well as the last four digits of the applicant's Social Security number and will be checked against either their driver's license or the state identification card kept by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
If the information from the application matches, an electronic image of the applicant's DMV signature will be added to the application. If no signature is on file then applicants will have to print out a form and mail it in to their county elections office, which essentially the same process which is in place now.
During a news conference Bowen said that completion of an online application does not guarantee automatic registration. Just as before, the information provided by applicants will be verified by county elections officials before they are added to voter rolls.
However, Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, who also is the vice chairman of the Assembly elections committee, voted against the bill and said the online system increases the potential for voter fraud.
"I think California has to be careful with that type of legislation. It could be detrimental to the democratic process," Logue said. "Even in Arizona where they have the online registration, they require proof of citizenship. We don't even have that."
Oct. 22 is the deadline for Californians to register for the Nov. 6 general election, which includes the presidential race and 11 statewide ballot initiatives.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.