California to automatically register driver's license applicants to vote

California to automatically register driver's license applicants to vote
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Californians who apply for driver's licenses will be automatically registered to vote under a bill that has been signed into law by the state's Gov. Jerry Brown (D). 

The measure, known as the California New Motor Voter Act, "will register every voting-eligible resident who applies for or renews a driver's license or ID card at a (DMV), with the ability to opt out, potentially adding millions of new registered voters to California's voter rolls," according to supporters. 

"As we watch states across the country do their best to disenfranchise voters, I'm proud to have legislation signed into law today that actually expands voting opportunities for all Californians," the bill's sponsor, California state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), said in a statement after Brown signed the measure into law.   

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"Removing an unnecessary barrier to voter registration will allow us to get down to the business of increasing actual participation," Gonzalez continued. 

Gonzalez's office said that 20 percent of residents who interact with a Department of Motor Vehicles office in a state that has a motor voter program in place decide to take advantage of the automatic voter registration offer. 

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said the motor voter program would increase participation in the Golden State's elections. 

"In a free society, the right to vote is fundamental," Padilla said in a statement. 

"Government should not impede a citizen's right to vote," he continued. "The New Motor Voter Act will make our democracy stronger by removing a key barrier to voting for millions of California citizens. I applaud Gov. Brown for his leadership and bold action to increase voter participation in our state."