|Secretary of State Debra Bowen has unveiled a new California voter registration card that has been redesigned to make it more inviting and easy for voters to use.
"Californiaīs old voter registration card looked more like an imposing tax form instead of a simple invitation to participate in democracy," said Bowen, who is the state's chief elections officer. "The new card is inviting, itīs intuitive, and most of all, itīs a visual reminder that registering to vote is quick and easy. I hope the new card encourages even more Californians to register before the Nov. 4 General Election."
The new cardīs cleaner layout features simpler language, shorter sentences and a larger, more
readable font. It is less wordy, containing about 730 words, as opposed to more than 1,200 words on the previous version. An expert analysis conducted by Transcend Translations determined that the redesigned card is significantly more readable than its predecessor.
In addition, the new card helps eliminate confusion about how to sign up as a nonpartisan voter rather than register with a political party. According to Bowen, Californiaīs fastest-growing segment of voters choose not to affiliate with any political party with near 20 percent of state voters listing "decline to state" as a party preference.
However, some voters reported they accidentally registered as a member of the American Independent Party when they intended to register as nonpartisan, or as "independent" of any political party.
To address that, the new card poses the direct question "Do you want to register with a political party?" and gives voters a clear choice of checking the "No" box. The previous card listed "I decline to state a political party" as the last of seven boxes a voter could check off under the heading of "Political party - fill in one oval."
The first batch of redesigned cards is available now in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog,
Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese. The new cards will be phased in as county elections offices and groups that run voter-registration drives use up supplies of the old cards.
Images of the new California voter registration card and its predecessor are at
www.sos.ca.gov and www.sos.ca.gov
The last day for eligible Californians to register to vote in the November 4 General Election is October 20. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is October 28.
- Jeb Bing
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