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California launches online voter registration (arstechnica.com)
65 points by headShrinker 1078 days ago | 28 comments



Direct link to registration website: https://rtv.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/

It works surprisingly well. Crazy that this is new.

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I was just at my library trying to get a form, but they were out. Great surprise to find this link on my return.

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I'm super impressed by this. I'm grateful that government websites are finally starting to shape up. I'm on a break from California in good ol' Virginia right now and have been eager to register to vote. I just finished the registration in about 5 minutes, luckily I know all of the things it requested by memory. WOOT!

Now I won't have any regrets about voting down the road when i'm at some backyard BBQ talking about the president. I'm looking forward to voting in this upcoming election.

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I find it interesting (but not surprising) that California is making an effort to make voter registration easier, while many states (mostly Southern) continue to try to put obstacles in the way of many people (mostly African-American, or poor, or both) being able to register to vote.

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Also interesting that the state where it is easiest for people to vote is probably the least important in this election as I imagine you couldn't bet someone 500 dollars to win a dollar that Romney would win California.

If it was a swing state the battle to allow people to vote or not would be headed right to the courts.

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Absolutely agree. The current registration and voting process many states have in place today totally discourages people from voting. I recall trying to vote in this year's primary elections and had to go through so many loops just to make a few check marks that I questioned my own sanity and finally voted to not vote. The technology is there to fix this issue and make voting a click away. I just wish our government would make this a higher priority. We can do better.

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This online system only works if you have a state-issued photo id.

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I don't know where you got this from. There is a "I don't have a california ID" box you can check, input your social security number and you're done.

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This isn't true. I registered a few weeks ago using my social security number.

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Many states are also actively trying to prevent registered voters from voting with voter ID laws.

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This absolutely rules. I just re-registered (due to having moved) and it's quite straightforward, and you can request a permanent vote-by-mail ballot (most secure way to vote).

For those paranoid about "online voting" - this is nothing of the sort, it simply updates the county voting registry with your details, they do a human effort to match it up with your existing info.

Now if only the swing states had this in-place, it could enfranchise millions of folks who can't/don't have the time to register or don't realize they might have missed the registration deadline.

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> For those paranoid about "online voting"

It wasn't your point, but why would a hypothetical online voting system be a problem? If, as another poster mentioned, this online registration system is good enough to prevent erroneous registrations, why couldn't the creation of an online voting account be included as part of the of the process? Being able to register and vote without leaving your desk (or on your phone, at home, etc) would help to enfranchise the aforementioned nonvoters even more than just making registration more convenient would.

If it's at all in doubt, I'm not trolling here, but genuinely curious as to what the fault(s) in online voting would be. The main problems that come to mind are (theoretically) preventing the privacy of anonymous voting and the possibility of cracking accounts (given a user base close to the entire population of a state and an (imagined) incentive for doing so, brute-force guessing of stupid passwords would likely be very effective if proper password complexity checks were not put in place), but what with the scandals that voting machines have caused in the past, I'm not so sure that offline voting systems are more secure in practice.

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> vote-by-mail ballot (most secure way to vote)

[Citation needed].

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clarification: get a vote-by-mail form, fill it out and drop it off on election day - you have a guaranteed paper trail.

Good luck getting that kind of assurance with the voting machines. Lack of paper trail is a gaping flaw.

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one that immediately comes to mind is the US Mail system is a best effort delivery protocol.

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Best effort? You haven't met my mail carrier, who was busy one day and decided to remedy that by skipping delivery to my neighborhood that day, marking my package "no such residence at address," returning it to its sender, who just happened to send it from another country.

So, yeah. I'm pretty sure it's a least-effort-without-getting-fired delivery protocol.

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I would almost certainly trust UDP more to actually deliver my ballot, forgetting things like security, etc.

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Regarding the last point, Colorado has a decent online voter registration system. I don't think it's a "swing states", but the polls seem extremely close at least.

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I must have done something wrong. I filled everything out and it had me print a form that I'm supposed to mail to my registrar in order to register... which of course is registering via mail and not online.

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I'm not sure what conditions led to that outcome. My successful registration (using my license #) yielded the following message: Congratulations! Your DMV signature has been retrieved and attached to your voter registration form and will be provided to your county elections office. Your form is now complete. Thank you for registering to vote! Please print a receipt for your records.

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Yah that's the problem... I don't have a CA license. I'm a student but I'm from a different state, whose voter registration says to register to vote in CA. Oh well... mail works.

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They (the DMV) must not have your signature on file. Unfortunately they need this as part of "the rules"...which aim combat voter fraud. It's inconvenient, but at least they fill out the form and do their best.

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About f'ing time... it's 2012. This year is also the first year you could file online CA tax returns without a middleman (or at least the first I noticed). When is the IRS gonna get off its butt?

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Note: If the DMV doesn't have your signature on file, you have to print out the application and send it in.

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This is great. Just registered and the process took about 15 minutes.

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15 minutes seems surprisingly long. What took the most time?

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Took me less than five minutes. I knew all of my information except for my Driver ID #. I'm guessing he had to search for his information.

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Here's hoping for online voting soon, as well.

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