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Letter: Bill important for vital records

Mark A. Lunn, President, County Recorder’s Association of California

Source: Ventura County Star

As Ventura County’s Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters, the services my team and I provide are essential to the functioning of our community members’ lives. When the pandemic first hit last March, we had to quickly adjust to ensure that these services remained uninterrupted. Fortunately, when it came to providing copies of vital records, our office was able to easily transition as we had a remote identity verification program in place prior to the pandemic that allows community members to submit online requests.

This ability to utilize a remote system was the direct result of a bill passed in the State Legislature in 2016. The program has proven invaluable in the midst of the pandemic, allowing me to continue to safely and quickly provide our community with certified copies of vital records without jeopardizing the health of myself, my staff, or our neighbors.

However, the authorization to use remote identity verification will end in January 2022. This is why I, in my role as President of the California Recorders Association, have partnered with one of our state representatives, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, to ensure that the authority to utilize remote identity verification remains.

AB 751 would make permanent the program to request vital records online that has for over half a decade proven valuable to Californians. Twenty-five counties, including Ventura County, have successfully implemented remote identity proofing to access vital records, with seven counties adopting this option as a result of the pandemic.

Californians deserve safe and convenient access to vital records especially as these records are essential for travel, licenses, school registration, and more. This bill ensures that consistent and reliable access continues to be available in our state. As a government official, I can best serve constituents if given the tools and flexibility to do so, which is why I am proud to work alongside Assemblymember Irwin and sponsor AB 751.