California Passes Landmark Automatic Registration Bill

Immigrants line up to apply for California driver licenses at DMV offices January 2, 2015 (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

On September 11, the California legislature passed a bill that will automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they interact with the DMV. State officials estimate that with approximately 6.6 million eligible but unregistered voters, the provision could dramatically boost California’s registration rate, which was ranked 38th in the country in 2012.

The Golden State’s plan is part of a broader trend to modernize voting and move toward universal registration, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. California is the third state in the country to pass automatic registration — which puts the onus on the government to sign up eligible citizens — and by far the largest.

Read more about voter registration modernization and the landmark legislation at