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Election day registration comes to California in 2017 as long-awaited voter database gets certified

 (Los Angeles Times)
(Los Angeles Times)

Californians will be able to register to vote on election day starting next year after the state's new voter database was officially certified for use on Monday.

The certification of the VoteCal statewide database by Secretary of State Alex Padilla came almost seven months after the technical work was completed, and more than 15 years after a federal law mandated its creation.

"Connecting all 58 counties through VoteCal will help elections officials throughout the state accurately and efficiently maintain voter rolls," Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a written statement.

The traditional system relied on individual counties maintaining their own lists of registered voters. The new database promises to make additions, deletions or changes to a county's list instantly retrievable in other parts of the state.

Same-day registration will not be available for the Nov. 8 election, but will be allowed in local elections next year and in statewide elections beginning in 2018.

VoteCal will also allow voters to check their ballot's status to see if it was properly counted. And it will allow for implementation of a new law that allows Californians as young as 16 and 17 to "pre-register" to vote, with their voter applications turned active once they are 18.

The system is also the building block to a sweeping election law that would move more Californians to voting by mail, a proposal passed by the Legislature last month and now on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

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