California Launches Statewide Online Voter Registration

More than 3,000 new voters registered in the website's first 12 hours.

by / September 20, 2012
Image from Shutterstock

Yesterday, California became the 11th state in the nation to offer its citizens online voting registration -- a move that simplifies the process for the more than 6 million residents who are eligible but have not yet registered. 

According to, the state's website went live on Wednesday, and saw more than 3,000 new registrants in its first 12 hours.  

“Though most states still cannot offer online voter registration, I am thrilled to say the largest state in the nation is ready to roll," said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, California’s chief elections officer in a press release. "Today the Internet replaces the mailbox for thousands of Californians wanting to register to vote; Online or on paper, California’s laws and procedures for processing voter registration applications are identical."

Bowen added that security is a critical part of elections, and emphasized this online application is not "automatic registration." The information provided in an online application, she said, still must be verified by a county elections official before an applicant can be added to the voter rolls.

The site was developed by the California Secretary of State in coordination with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), California’s 58 county elections officials, and their election management system vendors. When a person registers online, the  system will search the DMV database for the applicant’s California driver license or identification card number, date of birth, and last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number.

If the information is found and the applicant authorizes elections officials’ use of the DMV signature, an electronic image of the DMV signature will be added to that voter registration application.  If there is no signature on file with DMV, all of the applicant’s information will still be transmitted to the county elections office; the applicant will just need to click “print,” then sign the paper application and mail it., as California law requires that the applicant sign the voter registration application, which is considered a legal affidavit. As always, the county elections official will contact the applicant when the voter registration application is approved or when more information is needed to confirm eligibility. 

The voter registration application is located at  The last day to register to vote for the November 6 General Election is October 22.

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