Thank you again for your ongoing support. On Monday, I had the honor of being sworn in as your Secretary of State for a second term, surrounded by Angela, the boys, and my dad, and I had a chance to reflect on why our work continues to be meaningful.
Four years ago, when I was first sworn in as Secretary of State, I pledged to work tirelessly to bring more Californians into the democratic process. I made that promise based on our shared belief that we are a stronger democracy — and a better California — when voices from every corner of the state are heard and counted.
That promise is rooted in the most basic right afforded to all American citizens: our right to vote. Our work in California to ensure that our elections are free, fair, and accessible to all comes at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.
We face a President determined to roll back the clock on voting rights, ignore direct attacks to our elections, undermine the census, and demonize immigrants. In these unprecedented times, our determination, to never waver in our belief that our right to vote is fundamental, has never been more critical.
So I’m doubling down on our fight in Sacramento — and in Washington, DC — to defend our democracy. And working on the frontlines with so many of you, I know that our collective resolve has never been stronger.
In the face of cynical efforts to suppress the vote in dozens of states across the country and documented concerted efforts by foreign adversaries to undermine the integrity of our elections and public confidence in our election, I am proud to report that Californians have responded with record high voter registration and turnout.
Our work during my first term has made a real and direct impact on Californians showing up at the polls.
We launched Same-Day Registration, officially known as Conditional Voter Registration. On Election Day alone, more than 55,000 eligible Californians showed up at their county elections office or Vote Center, registered to vote, and cast a ballot.
We introduced online Pre-Registration for 16- and 17-year olds. Nearly 300,000 young people have pre-registered to vote since the launch of the program with more than 100,000 of them turning 18 in time to be able to vote in last November’s election.
We launched automatic voter registration, known as California Motor Voter, integrating voter registration into the DMV transactions of eligible Californians.
Since April, more than 775,000 previously eligible, but unregistered voters have been registered to vote. Equally powerful, more than 1.5 million previously registered voters were able to easily update their voter registration information.
California Motor Voter has not been without its challenges, so I want to be clear about this: I will work with the new Administration and new leadership at DMV to make sure the necessary oversight and accountability measures are in place to ensure the integrity of the program and voter registration data.
But we will do so in a way that honors our responsibility to facilitate voter registration and civic participation. And as much as we’ve worked to a register a record number of voters, we’ve been equally committed to make voting more accessible.
The 2018 election was also the debut of the Voter’s Choice Act, a new way of administering elections that offers voters more choices for when, where, and how to cast their ballot. Five counties made the leap to modernize their elections in 2018 — Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo — and all five exceeded the statewide record turnout last November!
But while we have reached historic achievements to strengthen our democracy, we’ve done so while confronting unforeseen and unprecedented challenges — both foreign and domestic.
So we must remain vigilant. We must act with resolve. And we must never waver in our work to defend against nefarious actors. In the years ahead, I will work with Governor Newsom and the Legislature to make the necessary investments to protect our electoral process.
And we will step up to the monumental task of ensuring that every Californian counts in the 2020 Census.
Our challenges are great, but our resolve is even greater. I look forward to working with the great women and men at the Office of the Secretary of State and with all of you to meet our challenges head-on and deliver for all Californians.
I thank you all again for your support.
May God Bless you. And may God Bless the great State of California.
California Secretary of State