Latinos are commending California’s elected officials for modernizing the state's motor voter registration system, which will likely increase the registered voter rate.

The California New Motor Act (A.B. 1461), which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 10, will register eligible citizens visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office for either a new or renewing their driver's license. According to a statement from the California Latino Legislative Caucus, the bill may potentially add millions of new registered voters to the state's voter rolls.

In a joint statement by California Latino Legislative Caucus Chairman Luis Alejo and Vice Chair Ben Hueso, the California New Motor Act has the potential to "drastically boost civic engagement" and boost voter registration efforts.

"The California New Motor Voter Act embraces the right to vote by utilizing innovation and technology to ensure every eligible voter has an equal opportunity to be automatically registered to vote," wrote Alejo and Hueso. "We want to thank Governor Brown for his thoughtful consideration of this bill which aims to target California's more than 6.6 million eligible, but unregistered citizens. These individuals are predominantly young minorities who have much to gain by making one small change, voting."

California Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez, Kevin McCarty and Alejo authored A.B. 1461. The bill also received support from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who previously served as president for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a non-partisan organization comprising of more than 6,000 officials from local, state and federal levels.

In a separate statement, NALEO commended the A.B. 1461 in addition to A.B. 1443, which establishes the Language Accessibility Advisory Committee. For NALEO, the two bills will provide a more accessible electoral process for Latinos and all voters.

"The golden state has the opportunity to become the gold standard for voting rights policy in this country," stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund executive director. "By making strides to make the right to vote more accessible to the nation's largest statewide Latino eligible voter population and all voters, California is embracing the democratic values that make our nation great."

According to NALEO, the organization will be working with Padilla and the DMV to ensure successful implementation of A.B. 1461 and recommendations "to provide the public with a more accessible opportunity to register and to improve the accuracy of the state's voter rolls."

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) also applauded California's steps to increase voter participation. LULAC National President Roger Rocha Jr. said California has shown the rest of the nation on how to help its citizens exercise their civic duty.

"The law will have tremendous impact on individuals who want to vote but find the process confusing to navigate. For organizations like LULAC that are working to increase Latino voter participation, this law is tremendously helpful, but more work still needs to be done. We must still ensure that Latinos turn out to vote and have the information they need in order to make informed decisions at the ballot box," said Rocha Jr.


For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: