What unites California voters above all else? Pessimism about the state and its governance system.
That's what the Public Policy Institute of California concludes in its new report, "Improving California's Democracy," saying that voters' levels of disillusionment are at historic highs. Voters blame the recession, joblessness, the economy, state budget cuts that reduce local services, and wasted tax dollars.
The survey said voters trust their local governments more than Sacramento and Washington.
We also trust ourselves — through the initiative process — to make important decisions about public policy.
That's in spite of the fact — according to the survey — that voters lack basic knowledge about the complex decisions they are asked to make on Election Day.
The Policy Institute says greater public participation in elections is the answer. It recommends registering more eligible adults, extending the time allowed to register, pre-registering 17-year-olds to vote, even allowing online voting through county registrars' websites.
The report also calls for more rules requiring the funders of initiatives to be disclosed during signature gathering and campaigns, and on the ballot itself.
Gregory Park enters a polling place at La Puerta Abierta Fellowship in Glassell Park on June 5, 2012.
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?
Where can I check to see if I'm already registered to vote?