California governor signs automatic voter registration bill

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California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law a bill that will automatically enroll citizens in the most populous U.S. state on voter rolls when they obtain or renew driver's licenses, his office said.

Lorena Gonzalez, a Democratic assemblywoman who authored the legislation, had said it could increase the state's voter base by millions of people.

The law allows voters to cancel their voter registration at any time, according to Gonzalez's office.

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California governor signs automatic voter registration bill
Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters outside the Old Governors Mansion on election night in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee/MCT via Getty Images)
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Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a gubernatorial debate with Republican challenger Neel Kashkari in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Thursday's debate is likely to be the only one of the general election. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)
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The California legislation resembles the so-called Motor Voter bill signed into law earlier this year in Oregon, which became the first state in the nation to make voter registration automatic through its Department of Motor Vehicles.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who oversees elections, said earlier this year that the bill would play a positive role in the state by enrolling more voters at a time when turnouts there have been woefully small.

California has 6.6 million citizens who are eligible to vote but not registered, according to statistics from the Secretary of State's Office.

It ranks 38th in the nation in voter registration rates of eligible citizens, Gonzalez's office said last month.

Voters in California generally support liberal candidates. More than 43 percent of the state's voters are registered as Democrats, while 28 percent are listed as Republicans.

The bill will rely on an incoming system called VoteCal to verify a California resident's legal eligibility to vote.

The system is not expected to be operational until around June, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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