About 110,000 Californians registered to vote online during the first week they could.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen said today she’s “thrilled to see the high volume,” but it’s part of the usual presidential-year deluge. “At this time four years ago, we received as many as 191,000 paper registration applications in a single week just at the Secretary of State’s office – that’s not counting the 58 county offices,” she said.
Still, Yee said in a news release today that he’s “ecstatic with the popularity of this new voter registration system.”
“It is a game-changer for our democracy,” he said. “While some states are suppressing the rights of voters, here in California we are significantly increasing participation.”
A slew of Republican-dominated states have enacted voter ID laws in recent years. Supporters say they’re meant to reduce the chance of in-person voting fraud, although there are extremely few documented cases of such fraud; critics say they’re meant to disenfranchise poor, disabled, minority and other voters who are likely to vote Democratic.
Yee said California’s new law already is saving county election offices thousands of dollars: “Election clerks do not have to spend as much time and money entering data from paper registrations, which also results in fewer administrative errors.”
The new system lets citizens whose signature is already on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles submit their voter registration form to their county elections office electronically.
44 percent 59 percent of eligible California citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election. Even now, more than 6.5 million Californians are eligible to vote but remain unregistered.
The deadline to register to vote in this November’s election is Monday, Oct. 22.