Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

California to Send Voter Registration Cards to Obamacare Applicants

Under a deal announced Monday by several voting-rights groups, the state will send voter registration cards to nearly 3.8 million Californians who have applied for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

By Jean Merl

Heading off a lawsuit over compliance with a federal voting rights law, California officials have agreed to help millions of state residents register to vote.

Under a deal announced Monday by several voting-rights groups, the state will send voter registration cards to nearly 3.8 million Californians who have applied for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The move will ensure that many residents can complete or update their registration in time for the June 3 primary election, representatives of the groups said, and bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The law requires that certain state offices provide clients with registration opportunities.

The Department of Motor Vehicles and state offices that aid low-income mothers and the disabled are also among the agencies required to provide registration services.

The accord resulted from negotiations between the state and the ACLU of California and other groups representing the League of Women Voters of California, Young Invincibles and several individuals.

"Many eligible voters fail to register due to lack of access and opportunity," Jennifer A. Waggoner, League of Women Voters president, said in a statement announcing the settlement. "Offering voter registration to the millions of people enrolling in healthcare is a simple step toward reaching out to them."

Raul Macias, a voting rights attorney for the ACLU, said California was first in adding its insurance exchange to the list of services offering voter registration assistance, but failed to follow through when the exchange opened.

Although he said the organizations were sympathetic to the exchange's workload and continued to negotiate with its officials, it was not until the groups served the state with a notice of noncompliance earlier this month that state officials were able to reach a settlement.

A spokeswoman for the state health insurance exchange, Covered California, said the network had already taken "some interim steps," including providing voter registration information and links to the secretary of State's office on its website.

"However," spokeswoman Anne Gonzales said, "in the first few months of our startup, our resources were primarily dedicated to getting the new insurance exchange up and running."

"We've always understood our obligations and now we are happy to have a plan...and to work toward full compliance" with the law, Gonzales said.

In addition to mailings to those who have applied for the current year, the exchange will take several steps to be ready for the fall enrollment period for 2015.

Voter cards will be included in all paper applications and a voter registration application will be provided for those signing up for health insurance online; help will also be available from those assisting applicants with their insurance choices, Gonzales said.

 

(c)2014 the Los Angeles Times

Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Sponsored
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
Sponsored
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Sponsored
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Sponsored
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
Sponsored
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Sponsored
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?