By Ed Coghlan.

“I was ecstatic.”

That’s how California Secretary of State Alex Padilla described his reaction when the California Legislature approved and Governor Brown signed the so-called “Motor Voter” Act late last year.

The law is designed to help remove a barrier to registration. Once the system is in place, when people go to the DMV to obtain or renew a driver’s license, or to get a state identification card, they’ll be asked for the usual information in such transactions, such as their name, date of birth and address. They’ll also be asked to affirm that they are eligible to vote and will be given the choice of opting out of registering at that time. Here’s more on how the law works via the LA Times.

Getting more people registered is one step toward improving California’s dismal voting participation trends. In the November 2014 election, California’s voting percentage was only 43 percent, 7 points under the previous record for what we can only call “terrible turnout.”

“I wasn’t surprised that we broke the record,” said Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis told the Sacramento Bee. “I was surprised, and I am very concerned, that we actually smashed it.”

For Padilla, that’s the next step: How do we figure out ways to improve the number of registered voters actually voting!

Here’s a description of SB 450 that Secretary of State Padilla mentioned in the video above.