Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

What you need to know to register to vote online in California

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California's Secretary of State has launched an online voter registration process. Here's what you need to know:

I want to register to vote online. What information do I have to provide?

The link for online registration in English and Spanish is https://rtv.sos.ca.gov/elections/register-to-vote/

That website has links to forms for other widely-used languages, but those must be printed out and mailed in.

You'll need to provide name, date of birth, address, and an ID number such as your driver's license, California ID or the last four digits of your Social Security number.  You don't have to select a political party when registering to vote.

What's the last day to register online in time to vote in the Nov. 6 general election?

October 22.

Where can I check to see if I'm already registered to vote?
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/registration-status/

Why is California adding online voter registration?

It's supposed to save money for county voter registration offices. With a $1.8 million grant from Congress via the federal Help America Vote Act, online registration is meant to reduce the amount of clerical staff time that had been used to type in the information. It also adds a voter to the rolls about five days quicker than the paper-based method.

How does this new system avoid fraudulent registrations?

The new online process — same as the existing paper-based system — checks to see if you have a signature on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles. About 90 percent of the state's eligible voters have a DMV file for a driver's license or California ID card, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said.

If your signature is not on file at the DMV, you cannot register online, instead you print the form, sign it, and mail it in.

If fraudulent voting is suspected, investigators can compare the signature provided at the polling place with that on file with the DMV or county registrar of voters.

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