Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Today’s your last chance to register to vote in California

A woman and her father, both of Sacramento, cast their vote at the Luther Burbank High School precinct on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
A woman and her father, both of Sacramento, cast their vote at the Luther Burbank High School precinct on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. hamezcua@sacbee.com

No excuses, California. If you want to vote in November, today’s your last chance to make sure you can.

Signing people up to vote is a key part of any election strategy – past efforts have helped shift the electoral dynamics in a number of formerly safe districts now hosting contested races thanks to narrowing registration gaps. Elected officials and political players have been hitting it hard ahead of tonight’s midnight deadline to register. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles, other lawmakers and labor leaders launched a Latino registration drive recently that was specifically promoted as a defense against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (the event featured taco trucks). The California Teachers Association was canvassing and reminding people to sign up this past weekend.

Getting people registered is one piece of the puzzle. Getting them to vote is something else entirely, particularly given how subgroups like young people, Latinos and Asian-Americans have a history of lower turnout rates. Breaking with other states that have elevated barriers to voting, California has been working to make it as easy as possible. More Californians are now registered to vote than ever before, and a Davis study found elusive minority and young voters got more engaged during a June primary that produced a surge in new registrations.

California going Democratic in the presidential election may be a foregone conclusion, but voters still face local races, 17 ballot measures and a U.S. Senate contest. You can sign up online or mail in a paper application – just be sure it’s postmarked by midnight. Here’s how you can sign up if you haven’t already. If you’re in Sacramento, the secretary of state’s office will have a registration table on the north steps of the Capitol starting at 11 a.m.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Meet Chunk the rescue puppy.

BY THE NUMBERS: $691,393.38: The amount the California Democratic Party, which overwhelmingly voted to endorse California Attorney General Kamala Harris as she runs for U.S. Senate, has spent this year to cover her campaign expenses. The party also recently reported $431,015 in spending for Harris and other preferred candidates, mostly for slate card mailings.

SHEQUALITY: Ensuring women are paid the same as men has featured in the presidential campaign this year. California has been pursuing the goal for years. A 2015 report found the gender pay gap among California state employees at 21 percent. The concern produced legislation trumpeted as the toughest in the nation. Will it work? The answer to that question will depend on the real-world application of some key concepts in the law, like the requirement that women get paid the same for the new standard of “substantially similar work.” Members of the California Pay Equity Task Force, including employees of the California Chamber of Commerce and Equal Rights Advocates, have been wrestling with those questions. They’ll discuss during a daylong meeting that kicks off at 10 a.m. in room 125.

POLICING POLICE: With racially charged distrust of law enforcement running high, one of the signal bills of 2015 was a measure requiring more data collection on stops. Framed as a way to suss out whether cops profile suspects, the measure became a focus for reform advocates who blockaded Gov. Jerry Brown’s office. The legislation also birthed a new Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board to advise the California Attorney General’s office. The fledgling committee will meet at the California Department of Justice’s Sacramento office (1300 I street) today at 10 a.m.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Northridge, who turns 62 today.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert. Christopher Cadelago of the Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

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