California voters can now change their party preference or update the address on their registration by filling out a short form at their county election office or voting location.
It’s a streamlined process compared to before, with fewer steps and less paperwork. The change came this month after the Legislature quickly passed and the governor signed SB 207.
Voting centers are typically inundated with last-minute voters on election day, and election officials are optimistic the new law could help shorten wait times.
“We’re hoping this new process will keep already-registered voters who are just changing their address or party in a faster-moving line,” said John Tuteur, registrar of voters in Napa County.
But the new law is also a curveball just weeks ahead of California’s primary election on March 3.
“The challenge is for us to get our vote center workers who are going to be handling these changes up to speed,” said Tuteur.
County offices typically begin training staff weeks or months in advance of elections to ensure things go smoothly.
Election officials throughout the state have received questions from voters registered as No Party Preference confused how to vote in a party primary. Some parties allow independents to request a ballot, but others require a voter to re-register as that party before getting a ballot for that party.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill last week, despite vetoing a similar bill last year supported by the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.
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