Why Was Voter Turnout So Low for California’s Presidential Primary?

Twenty-one percent of California’s registered voters turned out to vote for Tuesday’s presidential primary, according to the latest data from the state.

Meaning as of Friday afternoon, among 22 million registered voters around the state, around 4.5 million submitted a ballot.

That would make this election the lowest registered voter turnout in presidential primaries since 2004.

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The highest turnout was 58% in 2008 — the first year Barack Obama was on the ballot for the Democratic party.

While all nine Bay Area counties saw a drop in voter turnout, Alameda County saw the lowest turnout at 10.5% — a decline of 41 percentage points from 2020’s presidential primary.

Solano County saw the highest turnout among the nine counties at 30%.

However, there are still millions of ballots that still need to be counted through mail. California takes a little over a month to certify the election, according to Alan Minsky, the head of the national group Progressive Democrats of America. (Although how the state “can take a month to report its votes is beyond me,” said Minksy, referring to California’s status as the home of Silicon Valley.)

What’s behind the low turnout?

Paul Mitchell — vice president of Political Data, a bipartisan organization that analyzes voter data — said he predicted that turnout in this election would be low. “The data showed that the electorate was old, white and more conservative,” he said.

“When we look at elections, there’s always two components to turnout,” Mitchell explained. “The first is mechanical: How do you register to vote? How do you stay registered? How do you get a ballot? How do you return your ballot?”

Mitchell compared this year’s lackluster turnout to the previous low of 31% in the 2012 June presidential primary – when Obama was running for reelection against Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Click here to read the full article in KQED

Get Out The Vote? California lawmakers may translate more ballots, help more non-English-speakers to vote

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand language assistance and election services to immigrants who don’t speak English fluently, but a group representing voter registrars throughout the state says it will cost counties too much money. 

California has the nation’s highest proportion of households that speak languages other than English. Nearly 3 million voting age Californians have limited English knowledge. 

Assemblymember Evan Low, the Cupertino Democrat who co-authored Assembly Bill 884, said he hopes it will increase voter participation and strengthen democracy in California.

“California is one of the most diverse states and leads the nation in language diversity,” he said, “so it is important that we lead the way to providing in-language ballots and voting materials to reduce barriers and enfranchise more Californians.”

The bill, which passed the Assembly in late January and is before the Senate, would require California’s Secretary of State to identify the languages spoken by at least 10,000 voting-age individuals in a county who don’t speak English fluently, including groups not covered by current federal voting rights laws, such as Middle Eastern or African immigrants.

The Secretary of State would then have to provide language assistance, including a toll-free hotline and funding for county language coordinators, in areas where the need is most acute.

If the proposal succeeds, it would require San Diego County, for instance, to translate voting material into Somali and at least 20 other languages, the bill’s sponsors say. 

“We want voters to trust the government and that boils down to a voter in any community being able to understand what is happening in their own community,” said Pedro Hernandez, a policy director at California Common Cause, which cosponsored the bill.  

If it is successful, the bill would go into effect in 2025, too late for next Tuesday’s primary and the November general election.

Immigrant voting rights

Federal and state laws are meant to ensure all eligible voters can vote, regardless of English proficiency. However many foreign-born American citizens face significant language barriers when casting their ballot.

Under current state law, there’s no requirement to provide voter information guides or translated materials about voter registration in languages not covered by the federal Voting Rights Act, which passed in 1965 but was expanded in 1975. 

Now federal law requires counties to provide election material to population groups which meet specific size thresholds. Groups must comprise more than 10,000 voting-age citizens or 5% of all voting-age citizens in a county. That has led to translated materials for those who speak Spanish or an Asian, Native American or Alaskan language. 

California has lower population thresholds, requiring translations of sample ballots for greater numbers of eligible voters, but not other services such as votable ballots in other languages or poll workers who speak other languages, advocates said. Thousands of immigrants still lack equal access to the polls, advocates said, because they rely on languages not covered under federal laws.

Under state law, in each year with an election for governor the Secretary of State must determine the voting precincts where 3% or more of the voting age population is citizens in “language minority” groups who can’t vote without English language assistance.

The Secretary of State relies on census data to make language coverage determinations. But the Census Bureau provides limited data on small populations, claiming privacy protections, advocacy groups said.

In 2022, when California Secretary of State Shirley Weber initially decided to reduce the number of languages required to be translated from 27 to 10 in some precincts, her press secretary, Joe Kocurek, attributed it to the reduced Census data.

Days later, after CalMatters published a story on the issue, Weber reversed her decision. She told CalMatters at the time: “This drastic change was extremely troubling both to me and to the counties who provide services to these voters, because reduced language assistance has the potential to disenfranchise voters who may not receive voting materials in the appropriate language.” 

Overlooked voters

For Safiyo Jama, passing the American citizenship test meant she can play a role in a democratic system she has long admired. In 2012, when Jama voted in her first U.S. election, other African immigrants in the San Diego area asked her to provide  translations and voting assistance.

“They wanted to know what this candidate would do; they wanted to know which candidate was best for all of us,” said Jama, a 40-year-old Somali immigrant. “If there were ballots in Somali, more people would vote.”

Thousands of Somali refugees like Jama immigrated to San Diego County in the 1990s, as civil war ravaged the East African nation. Decades later at least 1,400 voting-age Somali residents in the county have self-identified as having limited English proficiency, though voting rights advocates say that’s likely an undercount.

recent report by voter advocates says the federal government’s definition of “ language minorities” overlooks many voters who speak African or Middle Eastern languages.

For instance, there are 659 precincts in Los Angeles County containing Arabic speakers, but only 123 meet the state’s threshold for providing translated materials and services. Because Arabic is not covered under federal law,  election offices are not mandated to provide election services in Arabic, the report said.

In contrast, Korean voters in neighboring Santa Barbara County, which has 12 precincts covered for translated voting material in Korean, receive language support because the voters with limited English proficiency live in highly concentrated population areas, the report said. 

The system therefore benefits communities that are residentially segregated, advocates said.

That could change under the proposal. For instance the bill would mandate San Diego County provide translated voting material in Arabic. 

According to the San Diego Registrar of Voters, the county already translates sample ballots into Arabic, as well as Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Somali, Persian and other languages. Officials would not answer questions about the bill. 

Advocates said translated sample ballots are useful, but they still pose difficulties for eligible voters who don’t speak English well. The lack of assistance in their specific language and having to rely on friends, family, even children to provide translation are the main reasons these eligible voters don’t register in the first place, advocates said.

Fiscal concerns

Though the bill passed in the Assembly, it triggered financial concerns as lawmakers face a projected multi-billion-dollar budget deficit

An Assembly Appropriations Committee analysis said the bill’s implementation would initially cost $28.8 million in fiscal 2024-25 and annually about $15.2 million, including language identification and translation duties, voter outreach, upgrades to phone systems and a voter registration database.

The Secretary of State’s office did not respond to CalMatters’ questions about the proposal’s potential costs.

A statewide group representing county registrars and election officials,  the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, said it supports the goal of providing voters with election materials in their preferred language, but it opposes this bill due to financial concerns, said Bob Page, its legislative committee co-chair. 

“For many counties that currently have more state-covered languages than federal-covered languages, increasing language service requirements could be expected to more than double the county’s language service costs and demand on labor,” the association wrote in a letter to Assemblymember Chris Holden, the Pasadena Democrat who chairs the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Today eligible voters can register to vote online and by mail. California requires all counties to mail voters a ballot ahead of an election. Voters can return them by mail or drop them off at a ballot box or voting center, or they can vote in person. 

“If they don’t sign the bill I will keep helping my community, because they want to vote and that’s their right.”SAFIYO JAMA, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN FROM SOMALIA WHO HELPS OTHERS VOTE BY TRANSLATING ELECTION MATERIALS

In precincts where the 3% language threshold is met, a county must provide translated sample ballots and translated instructions to voters. But some advocates said that’s not enough. 

“You can’t use a sample ballot to vote on,” said Deanna Kitamura, senior staff attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a bill co-sponsor. “You’re holding up the sample ballot in your language and then you’re having to look at it and mark the English ballot, which you use to vote on.”

Building trust

Kitamura testified in November to an Assembly committee that a 2015 study found language assistance increased Latino voter registration by 15% and expanded voter turnout by 15% in Asian American communities. When San Diego County started providing language assistance, voter registrations rose by more than 20% among Filipino Americans and by almost 40% among Vietnamese Americans, Kitamura said.

Other states have expanded assistance to voters whose languages aren’t covered under federal law. Oregon and Minnesota, for example, provide online voter registration in Somali. California does not. 

“In order for California to build trust, it has to be a multiracial and multilingual democracy, which means prioritizing and centering in language access,” said Hernandez at Common Cause.

Common Cause was one of a dozen organizations that participated in the California Language Access Workgroup launched in 2021. As part of its agenda, the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, an organization serving refugee communities, held listening sessions in 2022 to gauge the needs of Somali American voters in San Diego County. Rahmo Abdi, director of campaigns for the San Diego group, said listening session participants felt unsure and worried about making a wrong voting decision that could hurt their communities. 

That’s why multilingual assistance honors the choice of every eligible voter, Abdi added.   

“We don’t think we need to wait for federal law to get more access for our community, that’s why we are fighting locally to expand language services,” Abdi said. 

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Big Bucks for Ballot Measures in 2024 California Election

As California’s 2024 election gets more crowded by the day, some ballot measure campaigns are already building their war chests for the costly fight to come, raising more than $60 million since January.

Last year, nearly $700 million was spent, mostly by companies, to sway voters on seven November measures, the vast majority on two sports gambling measures that both failed

And, like last year, at least two measures next November will be industry-backed referenda to overturn new laws.

Almost immediately after the passage last year of a law to establish a fast food workers council to set wages and workplace standards for restaurants, fast food chains vowed to fight the bill. By January, they gathered enough signatures to get the referendum on the ballot, freezing the law until after the vote.

And last month, the money started flowing into their campaign. On July 5, In-n-Out cut a $10 million check to the ballot measure committee. Over the next two days, McDonalds, Chick-fil-a and Chipotle all donated $10 million as well. So far, the committee has reported raising more than $50 million.

Not as much cash has been raised by the oil industry campaign that spent $20 million to qualify a November 2024 referendum to block a state law banning new wells within 3,200 feet of hospitals and schools

So far, there aren’t any committees officially involved in the measure, but one committee entirely funded this cycle by Chevron, Valero, and Marathon Petroleum has raised $2.1 million. More money may be on the way: Wednesday, a coalition of environmental and public health groups filed a competing initiative to uphold the law. 

Next November, voters will also decide on a measure to remove some limits on cities’ ability to enact local rent control. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is in for $10 million supporting the measure

Though there is no official opposition committee yet, the California Apartment Association reported more than $1.7 million in contributions this year. In 2020, the group spent more than $72 million to defeat Proposition 21, the most recent rent control measure on the statewide ballot.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Republicans’ Faith in 2024 Vote Count Low, Poll Finds

Few Republicans have high confidence that votes will be tallied accurately in next year’s presidential contest, suggesting years of sustained attacks against elections by former President Trump and his allies have taken a toll, according to a new poll.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that only 22% of Republicans have high confidence that votes in the upcoming presidential election will be counted accurately, compared with 71% of Democrats expressing high confidence — underscoring a partisan divide fueled by a campaign of lies about the 2020 vote.

As he runs for the White House a third time, Trump continues to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

Overall, 44% of Americans surveyed said they had “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence that the votes in the next election would be counted accurately.

Confidence in elections has risen among Democrats in recent years, but has dropped among Republicans. Ahead of the 2016 election, 32% of Republicans polled were highly confident that votes would be counted accurately. That share rose to 54% two years later, after Trump won the presidency.

But their confidence fell to 28% a month before the 2020 election as Trump signaled that the voting would be rigged, and now sits at 22%.

“I just didn’t like the way the last election went,” said Lynn Jackson, a nurse and registered Republican from Contra Costa County. “I have questions about it. I can’t actually say it was stolen — only God knows that.”

Trump’s claims were rejected by dozens of judges, including several he had appointed. Multiple reviews, audits and recounts in the battleground states where Trump disputed his loss — including several overseen by GOP lawmakers — confirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

Even so, Trump’s claims led GOP-dominated states to pass new laws increasing voting restrictions, primarily by restricting mail voting and limiting or banning ballot drop boxes. Across the country, conspiracy theories related to voting machines prompted many Republican-controlled local governments to explore banning counting machines in favor of hand counts.

The AP-NORC survey found that political independents — a group that has consistently had low confidence in elections — were also largely skeptical about the integrity of the 2024 elections. Just 24% said they had the highest levels of confidence that the votes would be counted accurately.

Chris Ruff, a 46-year-old unaffiliated voter from Sanford, N.C., said he lost faith in elections years ago, believing they are rigged. He also sees no difference between the two major parties.

“I don’t vote at all,” he said. “I think it only adds credibility to the system if you participate.”

The conspiracy theories about voting machines, promoted through forums held around the country, also have taken a toll on confidence among Republicans even though there is no evidence to support the claims.

About 4 in 10 U.S. adults said they were highly confident that scanning paper ballots into a machine provides accurate counts. Democrats are about twice as confident in the process as Republicans — 63% compared with 29%. That marks a notable shift from a 2018 AP-NORC poll that found just 40% of Democrats were confident compared with 53% of Republicans.

Gillian Nevers, a 79-year-old retiree from Madison, Wis., has been a poll worker and said she had confidence — based on her experiences — in the people who oversee elections.

“I have never seen any shenanigans,” said Nevers, who votes Democratic. “The claims are unfounded and ridiculous.”

The conspiracy theories have led to death threats against election officials and an exodus of experienced workers.

Among other poll findings:

Most Republicans — 62% — said they were opposed to voting by mail without an excuse, compared with just 13% of Democrats.

Requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot received broad bipartisan support. Seven in 10 adults said they would favor a measure requiring voters to provide photo identification, including 87% of Republicans and 60% of Democrats.

A slim majority of Americans — 55% — said they supported automatically registering adult citizens to vote when they get a driver’s license or other state identification.

Four in 10 adults said eligible voters being denied the right to vote is a major problem in U.S. elections, but about as many Americans said the same about voting by people who are not eligible. The perceived significance of each issue varies by political party: 56% of Republicans said illegal voting is a major problem in U.S. elections, compared with 20% of Democrats. And 53% of Democrats said eligible voters being unable to vote is a major problem, compared with 26% of Republicans.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Low Voter Turnout Across California Reported on Primary Day

No one seems to care that the balance of the state is in their hands’

Voter turnout for the 2022 California primaries remained low Tuesday with many polling places and buildings with vote drop-offs reporting fewer people coming in than previous elections.

Earlier this week, consulting firms projected that California was likely going to see less than 30% turnout from voters largely due to a lack of exciting races in most places, disappointment from the results and actions from several previous elections, high voter apathy, along with other reasons. While the amount of ballots in on Monday was reported to only be 15%, the amount barely ticked up on Tuesday with the consulting firm Political Data Intelligence (PDI) announced mid-Tuesday that it only moved up to 16%.

While low numbers of people coming in have been universal, some areas are seeing higher numbers than other places. In San Francisco, the recall election of DA Chesa Boudin has brought out many voters either in support of Boudin’s policies or those dead-set against them.

“Over half the people who voted here or dropped off a ballot so far mentioned the race unprompted,” said John, a poll worker in San Francisco, to the Globe. “That’s the election everyone knows about. Pelosi and Newsom, and everyone, they’re an afterthought for most people it seems. A few going into the booths are also only coming out seconds later. It’s obvious they are only voting on the Boudin recall. It’s been like that all day.”

In the North County area above the Bay Area and Sacramento, it was even quieter for the first half of Tuesday.

“Due to the population differences, there’s not as many polling places up here, or vote drop off spots as you would see in LA or San Diego,” explained another election volunteer who wished to remain anonymous. “But even with fewer options, we’ve still just seen a trickle. There’s some local stuff and Congressman and Assemblyman up, as well as Governor, but it’s not like the Newsom recall last year where we had parking problems for the first election here since the Obama-McCain one. There’s no real motivation.”

Low voter turnout

Down South in Los Angeles, a high-profile election, the Mayoral Primary, is also boosting voter figures, but not as much as previously thought.

“I’ve been a volunteer at these places for years,” explained Deborah, a Los Angeles polling center worker, to the Globe on Tuesday. “Even for a primary, we have seen fewer people than normal, and I’m taking into account all those people that vote early or by-mail. Usually we see a large number of people come in just before closing because of them being at work or forgetting until the last minute, but based on the handful of people that came in today so far, I seriously doubt we’ll see lines like we’ve seen in the past. And if the Mayoral election has more people coming than what it would have, it’s really disappointing. I mean, a new mayor may be chosen today if Bass or Caruso get above 50% of the vote from a pool of voters in LA that is, I don’t know, 25%? 30%? That’s not good.”

Next door in Pasadena, with local spots such as City Council positions up for grabs, turnout is also low, with many voters seemingly unconcerned with many of the elections.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

California Redistricting: What to Know About the Final Maps

California voters have the brand new districts they’ll use to elect their members of Congress and state legislators, after the state’s independent redistricting commission voted unanimously Monday night to approve its final maps.

These districts take effect with the June 2022 primaries and continue for the next decade. Redistricting happens once every 10 years, after every census, to ensure that each district has the same amount of people. It’s the second time that California’s redrawing is being done by a 14-member independent commission. 

But it hasn’t been easy, or without contention.

In addition to balancing population numbers, the commission must comply with the federal Voting Rights Act, ensuring that no minority group’s vote is drowned out. And to create fair maps, the commission didn’t consider current district lines and isn’t supposed to weigh partisan politics. In some cases, it puts incumbents into the same district, or forces others to appeal to new voters to be re-elected.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Particularly on the congressional level, that could help shift the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans. In the U.S. House, three California Democrats are among the 23 Democrats nationally who have already opted not to run for re-election in 2022. Combined with redistricting done by Republican-led legislatures in other states, that could tip the House in favor of the GOP

Some California Democrats have blasted the “unilateral disarmament” of their power, though an initial analysis by the Cook Political Report says the new congressional map helps Democrats

The commission’s deliberations have been different from the last redistricting, in 2011, in large measure due to advances in technology, plus social media, particularly Twitter.

In 2021, it is far easier for advocacy groups and others to submit their own maps – and respond to mapping decisions in real time. As they did live line-drawing, commissioners referenced these maps, along with the feedback they were getting.

The commission was under the pressure of a court-ordered deadline to submit the maps to the secretary of state by Dec. 27 despite a nearly six-month delay in the release of census data. In the last few weeks, the panel held a number of marathon sessions late into the night to hear public comment and try to incorporate competing testimony into the maps. 

Commission chairperson Alicia Fernández acknowledged that there were constraints and disagreements along the way, but said she was proud of the commission’s work given the rules they were under.

“There was robust discussion in terms of how these maps should be drawn. We know that not everyone will be happy, but I feel that they are fair maps for Californians,” she told CalMatters.

California Common Cause — which pushed voters to create the independent panel — also defended the commission: “While the process was at times messy, it was an exercise in democracy done in public,” with 150 meetings and 30,000 pieces of public input.

Now, the maps must sit for three days for public input, though no further changes are permitted, said Fredy Ceja, communications director for the commission. In the meantime, the commission will complete its final report to deliver to the secretary of state.

Click here to read the full article at CalMatters

Proposed Bill Would Let 17-Year-Olds Vote in All California Elections

VotedCalifornia doesn’t have a particularly high opinion of the maturity of 18-year-olds, who can join the military but who can’t legally buy alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or firearms until they’re 21.

But Assemblyman Evan Low (pictured), D-San Jose, wants to go in a different direction on voting. He has introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8, which would lower the voting age from 18 to 17. First it needs to get two-thirds support in both the Assembly and the Senate, then approval of a majority of state voters.

Twenty-three states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 on the day of the general election. Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, has introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 to allow such voting in California.

But according to a San Francisco Chronicle analysis, no state allows voting at age 17 in general elections.

“Lowering the voting age will give a voice to young people and provide a tool to hold politicians accountable to the issues they care about. Young people are our future, and when we ignore that we do so at our own peril,” Low said in a statement provided to the Sacramento Bee.

Last year, Low’s similar proposal got 46 votes in the Senate – eight shy of the two-thirds threshold. He believes with Democrats now holding 61 of the Assembly’s 80 seats and 29 of the Senate’s 40 seats, his chances of making the ballot are much improved.

Republicans have been generally opposed to Low’s measure at least partly for partisan reasons. Polls in recent years have shown younger voters lean strongly to the left – to the point where a Gallup survey from last August found more of those aged 18 to 29 had a favorable view of socialism (51 percent) than capitalism (45 percent).

San Francisco nixed 2016 measure lowering voter age

But it’s not clear if Democrats will see the change as a way to gain a political advantage or are even enthusiastic about the idea. In May 2016, in San Francisco – where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 8 to 1 – the Board of Supervisors put Measure F on the November ballot, which would have lowered the voting age to 16 for local elections. But voters rejected it 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent, a 15,000-vote spread.

The debate over the measure likely foreshadowed the debate to come in the Legislature over Low’s bill.

Supporters said 16- and 17-year-olds were as capable as adults of making smart, informed election choices. They also said the voting change would promote awareness of civics at a time when polls show many young people are unfamiliar with basics about democracy.

Critics questioned why the measure had such a different view of young people’s maturity when it came to voting than with other adult privileges.

The close election may have been swung by a critical Chronicle editorial in September 2016.

“Young people must wait until the age of 21 to drink alcohol and, in California, smoke tobacco. They must wait until the age of 18 to serve their country,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote. “It makes no sense for San Francisco to send the message that voting is a responsibility any less serious than these are.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Exporting California’s Redistricting Change

VotedIt is an old adage that California is a bellwether for the nation. Policy changes that happen here often flow eastward from tax revolts to climate strategies. Newly elected governor Gavin Newsom boldly predicted that recent California policies are the future for the rest of the country. Time will tell, but the idea that California political ideas will move the rest of the country is being tested currently, led by another of the Golden State’s governors.

Last week, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted a Terminate Gerrymandering Summit at his USC Schwarzenegger Institute. On hand were leaders of four states, Michigan, Utah, Colorado, and Missouri, that saw successful ballot propositions approved in recent elections to take the power of drawing districts from legislators and give it to independent committees.

Calling the art of Gerrymandering (the word comes from an 1812 Massachusetts state senate district drawing signed by Governor Gerry with one district shaped like a salamander) a “200-year old scam,” Schwarzenegger celebrated the electoral victories, which he said, now means that one-third of congressional districts nationally are no longer drawn by politicians.

The exuberant former governor went a bit overboard in declaring that redistricting is now “hip.” However, it’s not a stretch to understand that when people listen to arguments about politicians choosing their own voters under Gerrymandering that the fairness issue weighs heavily on the side of change.

Both political parties have practiced the art of Gerrymandering—drawing districts that would guarantee safe party seats.

There are efforts in Texas and North Carolina to undo Republican Gerrymanders and in Maryland to end a Democratic Gerrymander.

The success of the Utah proposition in a solid Republican state was built on campaign material quoting Republicans Ronald Reagan and Schwarzenegger on the undemocratic aspects of Gerrymandering.

Schwarzenegger was a principal supporter of California’s Proposition 11 in 2008 to draw electoral boundaries for state assembly and senate districts. That was followed two years later by Proposition 20, filed by Charles Munger, Jr., to add the task of redistricting congressional seats to the newly created commission’s responsibilities.

Schwarzenegger reminisced about leaders of Democratic and Republican caucuses fighting fiercely when he was governor over some policy issue only to call him later and say they were united in their opposition to his effort to support the initiative to end Gerrymandering. He said then (and now) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spearheaded an effort that supplied millions of dollars to defeat the measure.

Kathay Feng of Common Cause, one of the lead organizations attempting to end Gerrymandering around the nation, recalled once receiving a call from a San Francisco legislator (unidentified but a Democrat, of course—San Francisco) demanding that no more Asian voters be put in her district.

Schwarzenegger intends to continue the effort to push his California message nationally during the 2020 elections. He set a goal that two-thirds or more of the congressional districts drawn after the 2020 census will be in the hands of independent commissioners.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

California to Remove 1.5 Million Inactive Voters from Voter Rolls

120703074240-norden-voting-rights-story-topJudicial Watch announced today that it signed a settlement agreement with the State of California and County of Los Angeles under which they will begin the process of removing from their voter registration rolls as many as 1.5 million inactive registered names that may be invalid. These removals are required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

The NVRA is a federal law requiring the removal of inactive registrations from the voter rolls after two general federal elections (encompassing from 2 to 4 years). Inactive voter registrations belong, for the most part, to voters who have moved to another county or state or have passed away.

Los Angeles County has over 10 million residents, more than the populations of 41 of the 50 United States. California is America’s largest state, with almost 40 million residents.

Judicial Watch filed a 2017 federal lawsuit to force the cleanup of voter rolls (Judicial Watch, Inc., et al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al. (No. 2:17-cv-08948)). Judicial Watch sued on its own behalf and on behalf of Wolfgang Kupka, Rhue Guyant, Jerry Griffin, and Delores M. Mars, who are lawfully registered voters in Los Angeles County. Judicial Watch was also joined by Election Integrity Project California, Inc., a public interest group that has long been involved in monitoring California’s voter rolls.

In its lawsuit, Judicial Watch alleged:

  • Los Angeles County has more voter registrations on its voter rolls than it has citizens who are old enough to register.  Specifically, according to data provided to and published by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Los Angeles County has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population.
  • The entire State of California has a registration rate of about 101 percent of its age-eligible citizenry.
  • Eleven of California’s 58 counties have registration rates exceeding 100 percent of the age-eligible citizenry.

The lawsuit confirmed that Los Angeles County has on its rolls more than 1.5 million potentially ineligible voters. This means that more than one out of every five LA County registrations likely belongs to a voter who has moved or is deceased. Judicial Watch notes that “Los Angeles County has the highest number of inactive registrations of any single county in the country.”

The Judicial Watch lawsuit also uncovered that neither the State of California nor Los Angeles County had been removing inactive voters from the voter registration rolls for the past 20 years. The Supreme Court affirmed last year in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Inst., 138 S. Ct. 1833 (2018) that the NVRA “makes this removal mandatory.”

The new settlement agreement, filed today with U.S. District Court Judge Manuel L. Real, requires all of the 1.5 million potentially ineligible registrants to be notified and asked to respond. If there is no response, those names are to be removed as required by the NVRA. California Secretary of State Padilla also agrees to update the State’s online NVRA manual to make clear that ineligible names must be removed and to notify each California county that they are obligated to do this. This should lead to cleaner voter rolls statewide.

Prior to this settlement agreement, Judicial Watch estimated that based on comparisons of national census data to voter-roll information, there were 3.5 million more names on various county voter rolls than there were citizens of voting age. This settlement could cut this number in half.

This is only the third statewide settlement achieved by private plaintiffs under the NVRA – and Judicial Watch was the plaintiff in each of those cases. The other statewide settlements are with Ohio (in 2014) and with Kentucky (2018), which agreed to a court-ordered consent decree.

“This settlement vindicates Judicial Watch’s groundbreaking lawsuits to clean up state voter rolls to help ensure cleaner elections,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch and its clients are thrilled with this historic settlement that will clean up election rolls in Los Angeles County and California – and set a nationwide precedent to ensure that states take reasonable steps to ensure that dead and other ineligible voters are removed from the rolls.”

Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper is the director of the organization’s Election Integrity Project and led the Judicial Watch legal team in this litigation.

Judicial Watch is the national leader in enforcing the list maintenance provisions of the NVRA.  In addition to its settlement agreements with Ohio and win in Kentucky, Judicial Watch filed a successful NVRA lawsuit against Indiana, causing it to voluntarily clean up its voting rolls, and has an ongoing lawsuit with the State of Maryland.

Judicial Watch helped the State of Ohio to successfully defend their settlement agreement before the Supreme Court. In North Carolina, Judicial Watch supported implementation of the state’s election integrity reform laws, filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court in March 2017.  And, in April 2018, Judicial Watch filed an amicus brief in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Alabama’s voter ID law. In Georgia, Judicial Watch filed an amicus brief in support of Secretary Brian Kemp’s list maintenance process against a lawsuit by left-wing groups. Judicial Watch and Georgia won when the Supreme Court ruled in Ohio’s favor.

Judicial Watch was assisted in this case by Charles H. Bell Jr., of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP; and H. Christopher Coates of Law Office of H. Christopher Coates.

This article was originally published by JudicialWatch.org

California’s Rigged Election Process is Coming to America

440px-Election_MG_3455The conventional wisdom of the experts who monitor elections in America is unvarying: Voter fraud is statistically insignificant. These sanguine claims are made despite the fact that internal controls are often so poor, or even nonexistent on election integrity, that it is nearly impossible to know if voter fraud has even occurred. In every critical area – voter identification, voter registration, duplicate voting, absentee ballots, ineligible voting, ballot custody, ballot destruction, counterfeit ballots, voting machine tampering – gaping holes exist that invite systemic fraud. But so what? How relevant is voter fraud, if the entire system is already rigged to favor one party over the other?

Come to California to see what’s going to roll out across America in time to guarantee a progressive landslide in 2020. It may be legal. But it’s so rigged it would make Boss Tweed blush.

When planning for the November 2018 election, California’s Democrats didn’t just aim to pad their supermajority in the state Legislature. They weren’t going to be satisfied with a sweep of every elected state position, including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Controller, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. They knew they could do that, but they aimed higher. They were bent on eliminating every Republican Congressman they possibly could, and they did pretty well in that. Going into the 2018 election California’s Republican Congressional Caucus had 14 members. After the election, there were only 7 left.

The way they did this was to pass laws designed to rig the system.

Three laws in particular combined to stack the deck against Republicans. First, the Motor Voter law was passed. This meant that as soon as any California resident acquired or renewed their driver’s license or state ID, they were automatically registered to vote. Second, the state legislature authorized counties to automatically send absentee ballots to voters, even if they had not requested those ballots. Third, the rules governing ballot custody were changed so that anyone could turn in absentee ballots, not just the actual voter.

The opportunities presented by these three laws were fully exploited by Democrats. According to a Republican campaign worker who operated in one of the Orange County congressional districts where an incumbent Republican was narrowly defeated by a Democratic challenger, for a week prior to November 6th, the Democrats had over 1,000 people on the ground, going door to door, collecting ballots. Armed with precise voter information, they only knocked on the doors of registered Democrats, and in thousands of cases, they actually collected the ballots and brought them to a polling center for the voter.

According to Orange County GOP chairman Fred Whitaker, 250,000 ballots were dropped off on election day. The actual amount of harvested votes may have been much higher, since harvesting was occuring for weeks prior to the election. In Orange County, out of 1.1 million ballots cast, 689,756, or 62 percent, were “vote-by-mail” ballots.

This is not your ordinary get-out-the-vote effort. For each congressional district in play, the cost per thousand full-time paid vote harvesters was approximately $125,000 per day. Tens of millions were spent by the Democrats, and it made the difference in several congressional races. This process of vote harvesting swept across California, funded by well-heeled public sector unions (which collect dues in excess of $800 million per year in California), and by leftist billionaires such as California’s own Tom Steyer.

To be fair, Republicans could have taken advantage of these same corrupt laws to harvest votes from registered Republicans. But not only did the Republicans rely primarily on a vastly outnumbered handful of unpaid volunteers, they didn’t even bother to provide their volunteer canvassers with up-to-date data in the phone apps they were using to determine which voting households to approach.

California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, quoted by Politico, reacting to charges that the Democrats stole close races, said, “Our elections in California are structured so that every eligible citizen can easily register, and every registered voter can easily cast their ballot.”

You can say that again. In a scathing commentary on just how rigged California’s election laws have become, former California State GOP Chair Shawn Steel wrote, “California Democrats have systematically undermined California’s already weak voter protection laws to guarantee permanent one-party rule.” In addition to automatic voter registration, automatic sending of absentee mail-in ballots, and legalized vote harvesting, Steele itemized additional ways the Democratic legislature has rigged elections in California.

They have legalized pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds, based on the accurate assumption that these youths, products of leftist indoctrination in California’s K-12 public school system, will vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. They have legalized the right for convicted felons and, in some cases, prison inmates to vote, based on the accurate assumption that these cohorts tend to favor Democrats. They have even passed laws in some California cities that permit non-citizens to vote in local elections.

There’s more. California’s legislature passed a law that requires a mailed ballot merely to be postmarked by election day. These ballots then have over a month to get counted. They have also permitted “conditional ballots,” wherein an unregistered voter can decide on election day to vote, and they will be simultaneously registered and handed a ballot. In California, 40 percent of the votes were tabulated after election night. Who were these 41 percent? Why is it they were overwhelmingly supporting Democrats?

The answer to this question casts the entire split between Democratic and Republican voters into a harsh perspective.

What sort of voter needs to be automatically registered instead of taking it upon themselves to sign up?

What sort of voter waits until election day to finally register and vote?

What sort of voter would not vote unless a mail-in ballot was automatically mailed to their home without them even requesting it?

What sort of voter needs someone to come to their home, remind them to vote, then collect their ballot and bring it to a polling place for them?

What sort of voter is your average convicted felon, or prison inmate?

The Democrats passed laws in California that allowed them to harvest hundreds of thousands of votes, if not millions of votes, from people who are the least engaged politically. They have built a system that harvests millions of votes from the most apathetic, most easily manipulated, low-information voters in the electorate. And that strategy, because it worked so well, is on its way to every state in America.

Count on it to happen fast – wherever Democrats control a state legislature, California’s new election rules will become law. In those states, using government union money and foot-soldiers, augmented with limitless funds from globalist left-wing billionaires, the Republican party will be wiped out forever. The massacre will not spare countless battleground congressional districts currently held by Republicans.

Is there voter fraud in America? There probably is, because as noted, the process is so riddled with loopholes and weaknesses that statistically significant fraud could be occurring and we would never know. But why rely on just fraud, when you can also rig the laws to harvest millions of votes?

This article originally appeared on the website American Greatness.