BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON
          ELECTIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
                              Senator Ben Allen, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             AB 2455        Hearing Date:    6/21/16    
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          |Author:    |Chiu                                                 |
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          |Version:   |6/16/16                                              |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|Frances Tibon Estoista                               |
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            Subject:  Electronic voter registration: public postsecondary  
                              educational institutions.

           DIGEST
           
          This bill requires, no later than July 1, 2018, the California  
          State University (CSU) and the California Community Colleges  
          (CCC) to implement a process and the infrastructure to allow a  
          person who enrolls at the institution online to submit an  
          affidavit of voter registration electronically.

           ANALYSIS
           
          Existing law:

          1)Authorizes a person who is qualified to register to vote and  
            who has a valid California driver's license or state  
            identification card to submit an affidavit of voter  
            registration electronically on the Internet Web site of the  
            Secretary of State (SOS).

          2)Requires a person who registers to vote online to assent  
            affirmatively to the use of his or her signature from his or  
            her driver's license or state identification card for voter  
            registration purposes.  Requires the SOS to obtain an  
            electronic copy of the signature of a person who registers to  
            vote online directly from the Department of Motor Vehicles  
            (DMV).

          3)Requires, pursuant to the Student Voter Registration Act,  







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            every campus of the CCCs and CSU that operates an automated  
            class registration system to permit students, through the  
            automated registration process, to apply to register to vote  
            online by submitting an affidavit of voter registration  
            electronically on the SOS's Web site, and encourages campuses  
            of the University of California (UC) to comply with this  
            process.

          4)Requires the DMV, pursuant to the California New Motor Voter  
            Program (CNMVP), to transfer records to the SOS of each person  
            who submits an application for a driver's license or state  
            identification card, or provides the DMV with a change of  
            address, and who attests that he or she meets all voter  
            eligibility requirements.  Provides that the records of a  
            person that are transmitted from the DMV to the SOS pursuant  
            to this provision constitute a completed affidavit of voter  
            registration for that person unless:

             a)   The person affirmatively declines to register to vote at  
               the DMV.

             b)   The person does not attest that he or she meets all  
               voter eligibility requirements while at the DMV.

             c)   The SOS determines that the person is not eligible to  
               register to vote.

          This bill:

           1) Requires the CSU and the CCC, and encourages the UC, by July  
             1, 2018, to implement a process and the infrastructure to  
             allow a person who enrolls online at the institution to  
             submit an affidavit of voter registration electronically on  
             the SOS's Web site in accordance with existing law.

           2) States legislative intent to take preliminary measure  
             towards the establishment of an automatic voter registration  
             system for California citizens enrolled at state public  
             college and university campuses.

           BACKGROUND
           
           Student Voter Registration Act  :  AB 593 (M. Ridley-Thomas,  
          Chapter 819, Statutes of 2003), created the Student Voter  








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          Registration Act of 2003 which, among other things, required the  
          SOS to provide every high school, CCC, CSU, and UC campus with  
          voter registration forms and information describing eligibility  
          requirements and instructions on how to return the completed  
          form.  SB 854 (M. Ridley-Thomas, Chapter 481, Statutes of 2007),  
          amended the law to require every CCC and CSU that operates an  
          automated class registration system to permit students, during  
          the class registration process, to receive a voter registration  
          application that is preprinted with personal information  
          relevant to voter registration, as specified.  The UC system was  
          encouraged to comply with this provision.  

          Following the launch of California's online voter registration  
          system, the Student Voter Registration Act was updated by AB  
          1446 (Mullin, Chapter 593, Statutes of 2014), to eliminate  
          requirements for the SOS to provide high schools, CCC, CSU, and  
          UC campuses with a number of paper voter registration forms  
          consistent with the number of students enrolled, and instead  
          required the SOS to provide voter registration forms upon  
          request.  AB 1446 also updated the voter registration process at  
          CSU and CCC campuses that was created through SB 854 by  
          requiring that an automated class registration system permit  
          students to apply to register to vote online by submitting an  
          affidavit of voter registration electronically on the SOS's  
          Internet Web site.  
           
          COMMENTS
           
           According to the author  , "In 2014, 18-24 year-olds had the  
          lowest turnout of all age groups: only 285,000 of 3.5 million  
          eligible young adult voters turned out to vote.  For young  
          people in particular, the process of registering to vote can be  
          a deterrent and can present obstacles that affect their ability  
          to register and vote at greater levels.  Young people have  
          higher rates of geographic mobility, which affects how  
          frequently they must update their voter registration  
          information.  When young voters move or their information  
          changes (like when they go to college), their registration  
          records may not be updated, effectively keeping them off of the  
          voter rolls."

           California New Motor Voter Program  :  Last year, the Legislature  
          passed and the Governor signed AB 1461 (Gonzalez, Chapter 729,  
          Statutes of 2015), also known as the California New Motor Voter  








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          Program (CNMVP), which provides for every person who submits an  
          application for a driver's license or state identification card,  
          or provides the DMV with a change of address, and who attests  
          that he or she meets all voter eligibility requirements, to be  
          registered to vote, unless that person opts out, as specified.   
          The process established under the CNMVP is sometimes referred to  
          as "automatic" or "automated" voter registration. 

          The CNMVP will be implemented no later than one year after the  
          SOS certifies all of the following:  1) California's new  
          statewide voter registration database, known as VoteCal, is  
          fully operational; 2) the Legislature has appropriated the funds  
          necessary for the SOS and the DMV to implement and maintain the  
          CNMVP; and, 3) regulations required by the CNMVP have been  
          adopted by the SOS.  At present all systems appear to be a go,  
          and it is anticipated CNMVP will be implemented the middle of  
          2017.

          The DMV is uniquely positioned among governmental bodies to  
          implement a program like the CNMVP, and to increase voter  
          registration rates through such a program.  First, the DMV  
          already had obligations under the National Voter Registration  
          Act (NVRA) of 1993 to offer voter registration services - a  
          requirement that was enacted, in part, due to the fact that  
          motor vehicle departments regularly interact with a high  
          percentage of the eligible voter population.  As a result,  
          implementing the CNMVP through the DMV ensured that it would  
          reach a large portion of the eligible voter population.  Second,  
          DMV records already contain much of the information needed in  
          order to register a person to vote, meaning that only limited  
          additional information needs to be collected from a person to  
          complete that person's registration.  Third, the DMV's computer  
          systems already have an interface with the state's voter  
          registration system for the purposes of validating and updating  
          voter registrations.  That interface will be crucial for the  
          implementation of the CNMVP.  Finally, the DMV already has  
          digitized signatures on file for most of its customers, and  
          California law requires a signature to be included in a voter's  
          registration record for a variety of elections-related purposes.  
           All these factors reduced the challenges to implementing the  
          CNMVP and increased the likelihood that the program will result  
          in a significant increase in the number of registered voters. 

           This bill  declares the intent of the Legislature to take  








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          preliminary measures towards the establishment of an automatic  
          voter registration system for California citizens enrolled at  
          state public college and university campuses.  As noted in the  
          Assembly Elections and Redistricting analysis, "If the desire is  
          to eventually move toward a voter registration process at  
          colleges and universities that is similar to the CNMVP process,  
          there are a number of obstacles that will need to be overcome  
          before such a process is feasible.  Unlike the DMV, the CSU and  
          CCC systems do not typically have digitized signatures on file  
          for their customers (students).  Furthermore, the type of  
          interface that the DMVs computers have with the state's voter  
          registration system does not exist with the CSU and CCC systems.  
           In light of these facts, any future attempt to implement a  
          CNMVP-like process at the CSU and CCC systems will face  
          obstacles that did not exist for implementing the program with  
          the DMV.  Furthermore, such a program at the CSU and CCC system  
          will reach a substantially smaller portion of the eligible voter  
          population than the CNMVP will reach through the DMV."

           California Registration Statistics  :  According to the most  
          recent report of registration produced by the SOS, there are  
          17,915,053 registered voters in California out of an estimated  
          24,783,789 Californians who are eligible to register to vote,  
          meaning that approximately 72.3 percent of eligible Californians  
          are registered to vote.  Over the last 50 years, the percentage  
          of eligible Californians who were registered to vote has been as  
          high as 80.2 percent (in 1996) and as low as 66.3 percent (in  
          1979).  According to data from the US Census, eligible  
          Californians aged 18-24 are less likely to be registered to vote  
          than any other age group; in 2014, eligible 18- to 24-year olds  
          in California were only about two-thirds as likely to be  
          registered to vote as eligible Californians as a whole, and were  
          only about 56% as likely to be registered as eligible voters  
          aged 65 or older.

           Annual report  .  AB 1446 (Mullin, Ch. 593, Statutes of 2014),  
          requires the SOS to submit an annual report to the Legislature  
          on its student voter registration efforts.  The report is to  
          include estimates as to how many voter registration forms were  
          sent to high schools, campuses of the CCC, CSU and UC; how many  
          voter registration forms were submitted; and how many electronic  
          affidavits of voter registration were submitted by students.   
          According to the SOS's annual report, in 2015, 14,669 students  
          at CCC, CSU, and UC campuses completed a voter registration  








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          application online using the process established by the Student  
          Voter Registration Act.

                               RELATED/PRIOR LEGISLATION
           
          AB 1446 (Mullin, Chapter 593, Statutes of 2014), updated the  
          Student Voter Registration Act of 2003 by eliminating  
          requirements for the SOS to provide high schools, CCC, CSU, and  
          UC campuses with a number of paper voter registration forms  
          consistent with the number of students enrolled, and instead  
          required the SOS to provide voter registration forms upon  
          request.

          SB 854 (M. Ridley-Thomas, Chapter 481, Statutes of 2007),  
          amended the law to require every CCC and CSU that operates an  
          automated class registration system to permit students, during  
          the class registration process, to receive a voter registration  
          application that is preprinted with personal information  
          relevant to voter registration, as specified.

          AB 593 (M. Ridley-Thomas, Chapter 819, Statutes of 2003),  
          created the Student Voter Registration Act of 2003 which, among  
          other things, required the SOS to provide every high school,  
          CCC, CSU, and UC campus with voter registration forms and  
          information describing eligibility requirements and instructions  
          on how to return the completed form.

           PRIOR ACTION
           
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          |Senate Education Committee            |  7 - 2                    |
          |Assembly Floor:                       |52 - 23                    |
          |--------------------------------------+---------------------------|
          |Assembly Appropriations Committee:    |13 - 5                     |
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          |Assembly Elections and Redistricting  |  5 - 2                    |
          |Committee:                            |                           |
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          POSITIONS
           
          Sponsor: Author

           Support: Secretary of State, Alex Padilla
                    California Common Cause
                    Student Senate for California Community Colleges 
                    University of California
                    University of California Student Association

           Oppose:  Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

                                          
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