SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- California Secretary of State Alex Padilla discussed his current motor voter proposal Wednesday at the first-ever California Nonpartisan Primary Summit before an audience of state lawmakers, election reformers, and capitol insiders. Padilla's motor voter proposal aims to increase voter participation by removing what amounts to the first barrier for many voters: registering to vote.
The proposal, currently in the legislature under AB 1461, would automatically register California citizens to vote using data collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles, unless the individual chooses to opt out or is ineligible to vote.
As Padilla explains, the state can not choose a party affiliation for voters, which leaves a strong possibility that more and more voters would be added to the rolls as no party preference. This could prove difficult for traditional political consultants whose campaign strategies rely on communicating with a small, reliable base of voters.
"But what it would mean for candidates and campaigns in terms of targeting when it comes to campaign time, because maybe it's a little less reliable if somebody's a Democrat or a Republican or no party preference or something else." - CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla
However, Padilla argues that question is a political one.
“If what we can do is systematically enfranchise millions of Californians and strengthen our democracy, why wouldn’t we?” He said.