State To Send Voter Registration Materials to Exchange Enrollees
On Monday, California officials announced that voter registration cards will be sent to nearly four million individuals who applied for health coverage through Covered California, the state's insurance exchange, the Los Angeles Times reports (Merl, Los Angeles Times, 3/24).
The announcement comes after the American Civil Liberties Union of California said Covered California was lagging behind other state-run health exchanges in providing voter registration opportunities for newly eligible health insurance applicants (California Healthline, 11/27/13).
The group threatened to file a lawsuit against the state for failing to comply with the National Voter Registration Act, which requires entities offering public services to provide opportunities for individuals to register to vote (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/24).
Other groups involved in discussions over Covered California's voter registration offerings included:
- The League of Women Voters of California;
- Young Invincibles; and
- Several individuals.
Details of Decision To Distribute Voter Cards
A Covered California spokesperson said the exchange already had taken "interim steps" to prompt enrollees to register to vote, including by providing:
- Voter registration information; and
- Links to the Secretary of State's office on the exchange website.
The decision this week to mail voter registration cards to exchange enrollees will give residents the opportunity to fill out or update their registration cards in time to vote in the June 3 primary election, according to the Times.
Anne Gonzales, an exchange spokesperson, said that the exchange now will offer voter registration cards in all paper applications and that voter registration materials will be offered to individuals signing up online. In addition, exchange enrollment counselors will offer voter registration assistance to consumers, Gonzales said (Los Angeles Times, 3/24).
In a statement, Jennifer Waggoner, president of the League of Women Voters of California, said, "Offering voter registration to the millions of people enrolling in health care is a simple step toward reaching out to them."
Raul Macias, a voting rights attorney with ACLU, said that the state failed to follow through with its promise to offer voter registration services when it first opened but added that advocates now are "excited that it's going to happen and happen in time for the primary" (Merl, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 3/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.