Tick-tock: Today is the last day to register to vote for the June primary election, which is two weeks from tomorrow!
More than 6.4 million (or more than quarter) of eligible Californians aren’t registered to vote. That’s boatload of people who aren’t voting in elections that affect everything from who is running the state to who your county supervisor to who the judge at your local courthouse will be.
People generally turn out for presidential elections, but what most don’t realize is that primaries are just as important, if not more so, to what happens in your day to day life. And thanks to the top two primary system, you’re not bound to voting for only candidates in the party you’ve registered for. That means independents can vote for anyone alongside Republicans and Democrats.
If you’re already registered to vote, encourage your friends and family to visit www.registertovote.ca.gov before the clock strikes midnight. If you don’t ask them to, who will? Every vote truly counts.
Here’s some additional, basic information to get you through the process:
U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older on Election Day are eligible to vote in California.
When to register?
Registered voters who have moved, changed their name, or political party affiliation since the last election must re-register to be eligible to participate in the June 3rd primary election. Check the status of your voter registration here.
How to register?
Fill out a brief paper or online voter application form (which takes only 3-4 minutes!).
You’ll be asked to provide information including your birth date, California driver’s licence or ID number, and the last four digits of your social security number.
Where to register?
You don’t even need to leave the house. Eligible Californians can register to vote online at RegisterToVote.ca.gov. If you prefer pen and paper, head to a local library, U.S. Post Office, or DMV to fill out a paper application in person.
What will you be voting on?
The primary ballot will feature a mix of races for state, local, and federal offices as well as two statewide ballot measures and possibly additional local ones, depending on where you live.
The positions up for election (or reelection) include governor, secretary of state, all 53 congressional seats, all 80 assembly seats, and 20 even-numbered state senate seats.
Voter’s Edge is a fantastic tool that has all the extra info you could need on measures and candidates.
And finally, there is the “why”. There are the typical arguments about exercising your democratic right to vote and ensuring that those who are elected are truly representative of the people they will be serving. California ranks 43rd in turnout nationwide. Even though we (strangely) do pretty well in primaries, it’s still an uphill battle.
It’s a good thing registering is a less and less cumbersome process. Last month Secretary of State Debra Bowen unveiled a redesigned online voter registration platform making it easier than ever to register to vote. The upgraded system is now available in 10 different languages, includes a more user-friendly interface, and has been streamlined to reduce the process from 19 screens to two.
Basically, if you have 5 minutes, you have time to register. As the old adage goes, if you don’t vote, you really can’t complain about who is running things or the job they’re doing.