In 2002, California voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 52, which would have allowed same-day voter registration. Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, has indicated that the risk of fraud in a state as large as California is too great to consider same-day registration.
In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that a survey of eligible non-registered individuals found that 46% were not interested in politics or voting. About 4% reported they did not know where or how to register, and just 6% said they had registration problems.
While The Times laments low voter turnout, it fails to recognize that apathy is part of any democratic process. Just creating another means of easy voter registration isn't going to change the fact that there are many people who simply don't care.