New York, NY – Steve Carbo, Senior Program Director of the Democracy Program, issued the following statement praising the recent passage of California Senate Bill 641.
"While voters across the nation continued to confront a wave of vote suppression legislation, Californians enjoyed a welcome victory this week. On June 1, the California Senate passed a Same-Day Registration (SDR) bill, SB 641, sponsored by Sen. Ron S. Calderón. The legislation would allow eligible California voters to register and cast a ballot on Election Day and the preceding 14 days. Voter registration now closes 15 days before elections. The bill now awaits consideration by the California Assembly. If adopted by that chamber and signed into law by Governor Brown, SDR could be in effect for the 2012 elections.
"Properly implemented, SDR could have a tremendous impact on voter turnout and participation in California, particularly for segments of the electorate with traditionally lower rates of political participation. Last year Demos commissioned two nationally-recognized political scientists to project SDR’s impact in the state. Professors R. Michael Alvarez (Cal-Tech) and Jonathan Nagler (New York University) predicted that voter turnout could increase statewide by 4.8 percent with SDR. With SDR, more than 1 million new voters could be expected to vote in presidential elections. Eighteen to 25 year olds would proportionally see the greatest gain, with a 9 percent increase in turnout. Higher-than-average increases could also be expected for Latinos (5.1 percent), newly naturalized citizens (5.1 percent), and persons who have moved within the previous six months (7.3 percent).
"Demos looks forward to further improvements in the SDR legislation as it works its way through the California Assembly. As proposed in SB 641, California voters could only register and vote with Same Day Registration at the offices of county elections officials. Making SDR available at polling places is the norm in Same Day Registration states and is important to achieving the voter turnout increases projected by Professors Alvarez and Nagler."
To speak with Mr. Carbo or other Demos voting rights experts please see contact information.
The Democracy Program at Demos works to strengthen democracy in the United States by reducing barriers to voter participation and encouraging civic engagement. Demos supports state and national reform efforts by conducting research on current and long-range issues; advancing a broad agenda for election reform; providing advocates and policymakers with technical support; conducting litigation; and strengthening reform networks. www.demos.org