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California Assembly OKs Bills Boosting Voter Registration at DMV

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A security guard patrols the empty parking lot of the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) February 6, 2009 in Pasadena, California. (Courtesy: David McNew/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO-

The California Assembly is advancing bills that would turn prospective drivers into voters.

Legislation approved Tuesday would boost California’s voter rolls by registering visitors to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

AB1461 by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego would automatically enroll eligible voters obtaining or renewing drivers’ licenses. It is backed by Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

Oregon adopted the nation’s first automatic voter registration law earlier this year. Some Republican lawmakers say voters shouldn’t be forced to sign up.

Separate legislation advanced on Tuesday to fund California’s voluntary DMV voter registration program.

AB786 by Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael is meant to make California follow the 20-year-old federal motor voter law.

AB786 passed on a 53-11 vote, while AB1461 passed 45-25. They head to the Senate.