Beall Proposes State's Online Voter Registration System Accept Signature Stamps

January 16, 2013

SACRAMENTO – Legislation making it easier for people with disabilities to register to vote over the state’s online system was introduced Tuesday by Sen. Jim Beall.  Senate Bill 111 is sponsored by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

“Senate Bill 111 gives people with disabilities a convenient and quick way to submit their online voter registration form with the use of a signature stamp,’’ Beall said. “With a simple and straightforward update in the statutes, the state can grant them the same accessibility the rest of us have in registering to vote.’’

Bowen, California’s chief elections official, said, “After I launched online voter registration, almost 600,000 Californians used the system to register to vote in the final weeks before the November 2012 election. For Californians who rely on a signature stamp, this bill will make it possible for them to register to vote online, too.’’

SB 111 updates the law by allowing a person who is unable to sign their name to use a signature stamp that is filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles to complete their online voter registration application. The DMV currently allows people who cannot sign their names to use a signature stamp when applying for a driver’s license or California identification card.  After the DMV confirms the applicant’s identity, it stores an electronic copy of the signature stamp just as it stores traditional signatures.

Under the law now, people who use a signature stamp to sign a voter registration affidavit must do so in the presence of an election official, necessitating a trip to the local registrar of voters office -- a task that may too burdensome for a person with disabilities.