California to implement emergency change for statewide voter registry

Within about an hour after publishing our editorial on the looming problems associated with California’s statewide voter registry, I received from Kathay Feng (California Common Cause) a copy of an emergency regulatory change to California’s HAVA-mandated statewide voter registry. As Secretary of State McPherson’s cover letter explains, county registrars in California can “apply a driver’s license number found through Calvalidator to a voter record for a registrant, without the need to contact the registrant to confirm it, provided there is a single “exact match” for the registrant’s first name, last name and date of birth.”

This will still be a long and slow process for county registrars, though hopefully this will help. It is still possible that county registrars might be overwhelmed by the volume of voter registration checks that might still be required even with this emergency regulation. Only time will tell — we ought to get word from election officials in a couple of weeks as to whether this change reduces their workload and will insure a minimum of problems for newly registered voters in the June primary.