Electoral reforms needed in California – Orange County Register

California needs a statewide initiative to add a voter identification requirement to the state constitution.

What would it take to do this? An election lawyer to draft it, $ 2,000 to file it, and enough money and volunteers to collect approximately 1.5 million signatures from registered voters in six months or less.

Why does California need a voter identification law? Because we got screwed. In 2019, then Secretary of State Alex Padilla decertified all of the state’s old voting systems and forced every county to purchase new technology that directly counts ballot scans instead of ballots. paper ballots. We were told to have confidence in high tech voting because there would always be a voter verified paper ballot. We were promised a paper trail that could be used to verify election results.

What a complete crook job that turned out to be.

In Los Angeles County, for example, the paper trail is effectively shredded as the ballots arrive. Each bulletin is scanned and then stored. By the time the results are certified, millions of ballots are mixed, unsorted, in boxes, in storage.

Under state law, members of the public have the right to request and pay for a recount. However, LA County Registrar Dean Logan argues that the cost of a recount now includes the cost of paying teams of county workers to dig through storage boxes for weeks to find paper ballots for. this particular race.

The price for a recount in LA County now starts at around $ 200,000 just to get the ballots, even before the cost of paying for the recount itself is calculated.

Worse yet, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge just ruled it’s perfectly fine.

This ruling by Judge Mitchell Beckloff came in a lawsuit filed by the Long Beach Reform Coalition against Logan over the cost of the election recount for Measure A, which indefinitely prolonged a municipal sales tax increase. . Measure A was on the March 2020 ballot. ‘No’ votes led to ‘yes’ votes on election night and in every update of vote totals up to the very last, when the measure passed to a victory of 16 votes and that the results were quickly certified by the county.

The LBRC demanded a recount and raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay for it, based on the recount costs estimated in the 2020 county handbook on the recount request.

But those cost estimates, the county later said, were no longer operational. They were based on the old voting system, when county employees sorted ballots by constituency before storing them. Under the new “Voting for All” or VSAP system, which has been tailor-made to Logan’s specifications, there is no sorting procedure for paper ballots. The ballots are scanned. The scans are counted. The “paper trail” may as well have been fed into a cross-cut shredder. It was never seen again.

There are currently 5.8 million registered voters in LA County. This represents about 25% of all registered voters in California, and for all intents and purposes, there is no way for the public to verify that the computers counting ballot scans are counting the votes accurately.

The Long Beach group has asked the judge to order the county to recover the roughly 100,000 Long Beach ballots at government expense as part of the election administration’s normal work, so that recount seekers can then pay the usual cost of county worker groups to recount the election. But Logan argued that it’s not his problem if the new voting system adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of a recount. He said there are no legal requirements for his office to sort ballots by constituency just to make recounts affordable again. The judge agreed.

Do you agree?

What happened with our election is one of the worst bait and trade stories in American history. Voters were promised a paper trail to verify election results by computer, but we did not get one. What we got is a lot of new electoral laws and regulations that create more ways to vote, more days to vote, automatic voter registration in the Department of Motor Vehicles, voter registration on the day even, universal postal voting, unattended ballot boxes, remote mail voting and polling centers with faulty electronic voting books instead of local polling stations with printed and searchable lists on paper.

Everything would be fine if the results of close races could be verified by an audit of paper ballots, and if we had a voter identification law in California to verify that the ballots are cast by real voters. “A total of 36 states have laws requiring or requiring voters to present some form of identification at the ballot box,” reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Ohio, for example, voters must present ID to vote, otherwise they must vote provisionally and return to present ID within 10 days. In California, however, no documents are required to vote.

California needs a law that requires counties to sort and store ballots by constituency, and it needs a law that requires voter identification while ensuring that every eligible voter can easily obtain acceptable identification documents.

If the courts are not interested in electoral integrity issues, we have the tools of direct democracy to deal with the problem. The initiative, the referendum and the revocation have been in the hands of Californian voters since 1911. Sometimes the old technology works very well.

Write to Susan Shelley: Susan@SusanShelley.com and follow her on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.


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