Document:California Press Release 6 August 1999 Third Parties Support Same-Day Voter Registration

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For immediate release: August 6, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Libertarian Party of California
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Third parties unite, support same-day voter registration

LOS ANGELES -- Members of the Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Peace and Freedom, and Reform Parties have formed a coalition to push for electoral reform in California, and today endorsed a bill that would allow same-day voter registration.

The group, called the California Third Parties Coalition, has pledged to push for election law changes that would even the playing field for third parties and open the process to more voters.

"Voters are clearly fed up with the status quo, and we have joined forces to create more choices at the ballot box," declared Coalition member and Green Party spokesperson Sara Amir. "Election laws are written by Democrats and Republicans. Our goal is to ensure that third parties are treated fairly and equally under the law."

The first item on the Coalition's agenda is passage of AB 1094 by Assemblyman Robert Hertzberg (D-Sherman Oaks), a bill that would allow eligible voters to register and vote on Election Day, as opposed to the current requirement that voters be registered at least 29 days prior to an election. The bill is pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee, although Governor Gray Davis has signaled that he will veto the bill.

"Governor Davis would be doing a grave disservice to California voters by vetoing this bill," said Libertarian state executive director Juan Ros, a Coalition member. "What is Davis afraid of? This bill would clearly open up the electoral process and benefit all candidates, not just third parties."

Six states currently use same-day voter registration -- Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. According to a Senate analysis, same-day voter registration is directly responsible for increases in voter turnout from 4% to 20% in these states. Same-day voter registration is commonly seen as a key factor in Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's stunning victory last year as a Reform Party candidate.

"Governor Ventura's victory not only proves that third parties can win statewide office but also that same-day voter registration can impact elections in democratic, voter-friendly ways," noted Reform Party National Secretary Jim Mangia, also a Coalition member.

"This Coalition proves that ideological differences aren't a hurdle to working together," Ros added. "We agree that election reform is needed, and that's what we'll be concentrating on."