UC students push for election day voter registration

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In an effort to gain more support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative, the UC Student Association is pushing for student support of Assembly Bill 1436, which will allow election-day voter registration in California.

Under existing law, a voter may not vote in an election unless he or she has registered on or before 15 days prior to the election. AB 1436 would establish conditional registration through which a person would be permitted to register to vote after the 15th day before an election or on election day, and cast his or her vote to be counted if the conditional voter registration is approved.

The bill would also require county election officials to offer conditional voter registration and provisional voting at voting offices.

“AB 1436 is very important because it has the potential to increase the number of students who will have the opportunity to vote,” said UCSA Organizing and Communications Director Darius Kemp. “Many students move around a lot and either don’t fully know their address or where they’re staying at, so being able to register on the exact day of the election will increase their constitutional right to vote.”

Many feel this particular election is especially important for students because of Brown’s tax initiative, Proposition 30, which will guarantee that the state government buy out state public college tuition, abating the threat of serious tuition hikes. If the proposition fails, the university will receive a series of budget cuts that could necessitate a 20.3 percent midyear tuition increase.

“Students have a lot of their own skin in the game,” Kemp said. “If it passes, it will lay down the groundwork for state funding of education, which will benefit students.”

Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, is sponsoring the bill and Senator Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, is primarily supporting this bill by setting up both a website and a phone line for people to express their support in an effort to move the bill out of the state Senate Appropriations Committee. The California College Democrats have also rallied behind the bill.

“As states throughout the country make it harder, rather than easier to vote, this bill reaffirms California’s commitment to true participatory democracy,” Feuer said in a press release. “Same day voter registration will greatly expand young people’s access to and exercise of the franchise, and I’m glad to see the California College Democrats are using social media to help get this bill over the finish line.”

According to a June 15 state Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments bill analysis, no organization has yet to express opposition to the bill.