Friday, March 23 , 2018, 11:58 pm | Fair 51º


Williams Introduces Bill to Streamline Voter Registration

Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, introduced a bill this week that would create a uniform set of rules for elections officials to process signed voter registration cards of U.S. citizens, even if the place of birth box is left blank.

California is just one of 10 states that requires the place of birth box to be filled out. Currently, if the U.S. citizen box is checked, but the place of birth box is left blank, some county officials set aside the card in a “pending” file, and then contact the individual by mail to ask the person to complete the form.

This process causes delays for eligible California voters and requires elections officials to use government time and resources to verify place of birth, even though the information doesn’t have any bearing on whether the person is allowed to vote.

“This is a simple fix that is long overdue,” Williams said. “This law will allow officials to protect voting rights and help counties save money.”

California law already allows elections officials to process cards if other boxes are left blank.

The existing statute assumes that a person is not affiliated with a party or that he or she does not have a middle name if those boxes are left blank on a voter registration card.

“A person’s birthplace has no bearing on eligibility to vote in this state,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, California’s chief elections official. “By making California’s voter registration form more consistent with federal requirements and the forms in most other states, we can eliminate unnecessary delays for many eligible Californians.”

Bowen is also a sponsor of AB 131.

— Josh Molina is a communications specialist for Assemblyman Das Williams.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >