New Citizen Voter Registration in California

In California, all new citizens can register to vote and cast their ballot on the first election day after becoming a citizen. There is no case of a newly naturalized citizen who may not vote in the first election because they are not able to register.

Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) lengthened the time a new citizen has to register until the election day.

California Constitutional Right To Vote

The California Constitution guarantees that every person who made the commitment to the country and became a naturalized citizen has a right to vote. “All United States citizens 18 years of age and a resident in this state may vote.”

New Citizens

Americans have had their name called by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service and have not yet registered to vote when the registration deadline before an election passes. Naturalization ceremonies are held after the deadline. They used to be denied their right to vote because the old law was modeled on California’s new resident law that set a registration deadline on the seventh day before an election. Now, any person that knows they have the qualifications to become a sworn citizen can plan on registering, and voting.

Those citizens that received their citizenship after the 15th day prior to an election are new citizens that have their own rules for voter registration.

The Last Day To Register

Assemblyman Paul Fong, at a time he was the Chair of the Elections and Redistricting Commission, passed a law that was signed into law on August 8, 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown to make sure no one is left out of the vote on election day. New citizens have until the close of the polls to register. Any day starting on the 14th day before the election is a day immigrants and foreigners that chose the United States of America and proved their loyalty to gain citizenship can register.

The Cupertino Assemblyman was proud to stand for a lowering of the count of naturalized citizens who may not vote to zero. “All citizens have the right to vote in California.” He justified the closing of the time gap for registration during the deliberations on the bill in the state legislature, “During presidential elections new citizens should be able to cast a vote for the future leader of a nation that they just pledged their support to.” Now, these citizens that join the American citizenry during the last week experience no delay before their first cast ballot.

Protections against abuse of the new citizen voting rules are the same as before Assemblyman Fong lengthened the time to register. New citizens who register after the close of registration must show an elections official proof of citizenship and give a declaration the citizen has established residency in California. The registrar keeps a list of new citizens that is open to public inspection.

The Registration Office

Not every new citizen has to register at the county registrar’s office. The county registrar’s office is the main office open to those who want to register. New citizens can register at another location the registrar chooses. The additional location prevents a backlog at the polls.

No Votes Lost

Any person who calls California home and can say they are a citizen can cast their vote on election day. All will have a time and a place to become one of the American voters.

New Citizens Elections Act, in California (August 8, 2011).

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