All Issues

Voting Rights

Voter participation is the oxygen of our democracy. Without it we can’t breathe, without it we won’t survive.

It’s hard to believe that in the year 2017, we are working so hard to protect our fundamental voting rights in the United States of America. But we are and we must. I believe our democracy thrives when all eligible voters participate.

As California’s Chief Elections Officer, I have prioritized expanding access to the ballot, and have created ways of giving voters more options of when, where and how to cast their ballots. In my first two years in office, we added 2 million new voters to the polls in California, a record high. And I’m not letting up.

  • As Secretary of State, I am implementing automatic voter registration so that anyone who is eligible will be automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license or state ID. We expect to add millions of voters to the polls in the coming years.
  • I launched online pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds and already, more than 80,000 young people across the state have pre-registered to vote, so that they are ready to vote as soon as they turn 18.
  • I sponsored the Voters Choice Act. Starting in five counties in 2018, voters will enjoy more options of when, where, and how they can cast their ballot. Think more vote by mail, ten days of in-person early voting, and the flexibility of voting at any vote center in the county most convenient to you.

Throughout the nation, however, we continue to see attempts to restrict access to the ballot and undermine voting rights, particularly in communities of color. The United States Supreme Court’s damaging decision in the Shelby v. Holder case reaffirmed the importance of the office of Secretary of State. As Secretary, I will strongly oppose laws that undermine voting rights and I will work to maintain California’s leadership in national efforts to strengthen voting rights and increase access to the ballot.

As California Secretary of State, I have consistently pushed back on Trump’s baseless allegations of massive voter fraud. I have firmly refused to provide California voters’ private information to President Trump’s sham Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and I helped organize Secretaries of State across the country to do the same. And I have served as a member of the Democratic National Committee’s Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration.

Protecting and strengthening the right to vote includes protecting the integrity of our elections and defending against domestic and foreign cyber attacks. I serve as an alternate on the US Department of Homeland Security’s Election Critical Infrastructure governance council. I have lobbied the Governor and the state legislature for funding for voting system upgrades and replacements. While in the state senate, I authored legislation to allow publicly developed open source voting systems in the state to increase the transparency and integrity of elections. And I will maintain current state law requiring (1) a verifiable paper audit trail in California elections, (2) voting systems not be connected to the internet, and (3) a manual tally of at least one percent of the precincts in each county to ensure the accuracy and the integrity of the results.