“Civil Rights Groups Prevail in Lawsuit to Require Secretary of State to Improve Voter Registration Opportunities”

Press release via email:

On Friday, civil rights groups prevailed in their lawsuit against Secretary of State Alex Padilla to expand voter registration at agencies in the state that serve people on public assistance and individuals with disabilities. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Ethan P. Schulman ruled Padilla must require voter registration at additional agencies and contractors serving Californians throughout the state. More than 1.8 million Californians will benefit from the ruling.  


 The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California (ACLU) and Disability Rights California (DRC) filed suit against Secretary Padilla because of his failure to designate state and local offices that provide public assistance or are state funded offices primarily serving people with disabilities, known as “Voter Registration Agencies” (VRAs).  Secretary Padilla is required to identify offices that meet these definitions and notify them that they are required to provide voter registration opportunities under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and California’s Election code.


According to the decision, the following offices must now offer voter registration opportunities:


-County offices administering General Assistance or General Relief Programs, which receive close to 300,000 applications each year;
-Financial aid programs administered by the California Student Aid Commission, which received over 1.5 million applications last year;
-Private entities providing services under contract on behalf of VRAs.

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