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You Can Register to Vote When You Register for Healthcare in CA

You Can Register to Vote When You Register for Healthcare in CA
Covered California

Conservatives aren't too happy with this. It turns out that, at least in California, the folks running the Obamacare sign-ups have to also give you an opportunity to register to vote.

Why would Republicans care? Well, the folks who don't have insurance tend to support President Obama's Affordable Care Act 2 to 1. They often don't have the kinds of jobs that provide insurance, and they appear to welcome a low-cost way to get coverage. These are natural Democrats, yeah?

Conservatives are like, How dare we encourage people to vote, especially the uninsured masses! But don't expect a Democratic landslide in the next election just yet:

Voter registration doesn't necessarily equal greater turnout among people who don't vote as much as old white people. Thus, conservatives still hate Obamacare more than they hate any voter-registration provision attached to it.

Strangely, in this bluest of blue states, Covered California, the Golden State's Obamacare arm, had resisted pairing voter registration with insurance sign-ups. Why?

It's not clear. The ACLU threatened to sue but announced in a statement this week that it had come to an agreement with Golden State bureaucrats: 

The state of California has agreed to mail voter registration cards to nearly 4 million Californians who have signed up for health insurance through the state health exchange, Covered California, and to ensure that Californians who apply for health benefits through the exchange going forward are provided voter registration opportunities.

The civil liberties group said that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 applies to all but a few states when it comes to Obamacare registration.

While the act primarily covers voter registration opportunities through the DMV, state ACLU attorney Raul Macias told us the group believes it covers almost all "state public-assistance offices" because not everyone has a car.

The ACLU argues that 48 44 states must offer voter registration through its Obamacare sign-ups. California, Macias said, "resisted:"

They made some promises that they were going to be able to integreate voter registration into their online application. We don't think this is that complicated. It's a 20-year-old law, and state agencies have been complying for years. Mailing a letter and a voter registration card is a pretty low-tech way of making sure everyone is offered voter registration, and its' something they could have done from the start.

If the legalization of recreational marijuana passes in California in 2016, then we'll know these registrations had a liberalizing effect.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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