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California’s Student Voter Registration Act

Secretary of State must provide every high school, community college, and CSU and UC campus voter registration forms

By Chris Micheli, February 16, 2022 10:20 am

California law provides student voter registration rules in the Elections Code. Article 3.5 contains Sections 2145 – 2148.5. Section 2145 provides that Article 3.5 is known as the Student Voter Registration Act of 2003. Section 2146 requires the Secretary of State to annually provide every high school, community college, and California State University and University of California campus with voter registration forms. The Secretary of State must provide additional forms to a school, free of charge, if requested by a school.

The Secretary of State is required to provide a written notice with each registration form describing eligibility requirements and informing each student that he or she may return the completed form in person or by mail to the elections official of the county in which the student resides or to the Secretary of State.

A community college or California State University campus that operates an automated class registration system must permit students, during the class registration process, to apply to register to vote online by submitting an affidavit of voter registration electronically on the Internet Web site of the Secretary of State. The University of California is encouraged to comply with this subdivision.

The Secretary of State must submit to the Legislature, on or before January 1 of each year a report on its student voter registration efforts. It is the intent of the Legislature that every eligible high school and college student receive a meaningful opportunity to apply to register to vote. It is also the intent of the Legislature that every school do all in its power to ensure that students are provided the opportunity and means to apply to register to vote.

Section 2147 requires the California State University and the California Community Colleges to implement a process and the infrastructure to allow a person who enrolls online at the institution to submit an affidavit of voter registration electronically on the Internet Web site of the Secretary of State. The University of California is encouraged to coordinate with the Secretary of State pursuant to this section.

Section 2148 requires every high school, community college, and California State University campus to designate a contact person and provide his or her address, telephone number, and e-mail address, when possible, to the Secretary of State for the Secretary of State to contact in order to facilitate the distribution of voter registration cards, as provided under this article. The University of California is encouraged to comply with this subdivision.

Section 2148.5 requires the Secretary of State to promote and seek to improve student voter registration rates and participation by developing a Students Vote Project. Through the Students Vote Project, the Secretary of State is required to provide to the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California the materials and resources required such as printed calendars with civic- and election-related dates.

Finally, the Secretary of State is required to establish and maintain an internet web page for the Students Vote Project, which must include the dates and information required to be distributed.

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