California Calls stands up for Voter Rights

On November 15, California Calls and our anchor organizations joined a group of over 40 healthcare advocates, consumer advocates and grassroots community organizations from across the state calling on Covered California to comply with state and federal laws requiring they give Californians the opportunity to register to vote when they sign up for health insurance.

Covered California is required to provide voter registration to applicants under the National Voter Registration Act which mandates that voter registration opportunities be offered whenever citizens apply for public services. Since the marketplace opened on October 1, Covered California has not yet fully implemented voter registration as part of healthcare enrollment, despite being directed to do so by the Secretary of State and Governor Brown. So far, almost 80,000 new applicants have not been given the opportunity to register to vote.

In response to these concerns, Covered California has begun to take steps to improve their voter registration efforts both online and in person to give applicants more opportunities to register during the enrollment process. So far they have

  1. Appointed a Voter Registration Coordinator to oversee these efforts
  2. Created additional opportunities for sign up on the website
  3. Will provide extensive training, beginning December 2, on voter registration to all of the certified enrollment counselors, certified insurance agents and customer service representatives.
  4. Exploring how to pre-populating voter registration forms using the information from health coverage applications online to make it easier to register to vote.

California Calls will continue to monitor Covered California’s voter registration efforts to make sure that the estimated 2,000 people a day who sign up through California’s healthcare marketplace get the opportunity to register to vote and participate in the democratic process in our state.