New California law helps protect voters from hacking

Voting boothSometimes — OK, most of the time — new rules and regulations aimed at putting the brakes on electioneering shenanigans smack of undue limitations on free speech.

Voters must be trusted at least a little bit to be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the politicking aimed at them during campaigns. If all is fair in love and war it is certainly so in politics.

Informed voters have ample opportunities to fact-check what they hear from candidates, and can use their heads and their hearts to suss out whether the people seeking their votes are con artists or people of conviction.

But it has to be said that the overwhelming evidence of Russian government-backed attempts to hack American elections has changed the atmosphere and made calls for new attempts to block such tactics worth at least listening to.

Such interference is certainly not a partisan issue, and that’s likely why only one “no” vote was cast in both houses of the California Legislature against a new law under which journalists, researchers and political campaigns that receive voter data must tell officials if it may have been stolen. …

Click here to read the full article from the Orange County Register

Gov. Brown approves automatic voter registration for Californians

Voting boothTargeting California’s recent record-low voter turnout, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a measure that would eventually allow Californians to be automatically registered to vote when they go the DMV to obtain or renew a driver’s license.

The measure, which would also allow Californians to opt out of registering, was introduced in response to the dismal 42% turnout in the November 2014 statewide election.

That bill and 13 others the governor signed Saturday, will “help improve elections and expand voter rights and access in California,” Brown’s office said in a statement.

Some 6.6 million Californians who are eligible to register to vote have not registered, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who supported the legislation as a way to increase voter participation. …

Click here to read the full article from the Los Angeles Times

Seven initiatives to watch that threaten California prosperity

VotedVoters may face as many seven ballot measures damaging to California’s business and political climate in November. Any one of these measures should motivate millions in opposition spending by affected industries. More than a few are likely to qualify for the ballot.

Conventional wisdom teaches that gubernatorial elections deliver older and more conservative voters to the polls, which normally drives liberal and anti-business initiative entrepreneurs to aim their measures for presidential election years, like 2016 or 2020. But this formerly reliable rule has crumbled in the face of a low qualification threshold, interest group imperatives, and impatient wealthy donors. It’s open season on the deep pockets!

Increase taxes

In 2016, California voters extended top income tax rates (already the highest in the nation) through 2030, increased tobacco taxes by $2-a-pack, and imposed new taxes on marijuana use and production. Elsewhere, voters in hundreds of local jurisdictions raised sales, property and excise taxes for a variety of municipal or school services.

For certain unions and special interest groups, this isn’t enough. Two proposed ballot measures would impose multi-billion-dollar tax increases on businesses and upper income earners.

The United Healthcare Workers union has proposed a one-percent income tax surcharge on all income over $1 million, which would raise up to $2.5 billion annually for various health care programs. Wealthy taxpayers would pay a top rate of 14.3%, well above the highest income tax rate of any other state.

A coalition of liberal interest groups is circulating a split roll property tax proposal, requiring that nearly all commercial and industrial properties, except production agriculture, be assessed to full market value, and then reassessed every three years thereafter. Tax bills for business would increase by $10.5 billion a year.

Worsen housing crisis

California’s notorious housing shortage contributes to many social ills, including poverty, long commutes, air pollution, and flight of middle class jobs and job seekers. Tenant advocates, backed by the head of the Los Angeles AIDS Healthcare Foundation, are circulating a proposal that would exacerbate this shortage by repealing long-standing limitations on rent control.  Far from alleviating the housing shortage, this proposal would simply allow local politicians to benefit some existing renters at the expense of future renters and homeowners.

Regulate industries

A measure purporting to improve consumer control over personal internet privacy promises to be among the hardest fought and most expensive ballot battles. A San Francisco investor proposes requiring businesses to provide to consumers upon request a copy of any personal information it has accumulated and allows consumers to opt-out any or all collection of their personal information – even if not personally identifiable. This measure undermines widespread business models in the industry and likely reduce many services now available to internet users.

United Healthcare Workers is also soliciting signatures for a measure to establish price controls for privately-operated kidney dialysis treatment. Intended to create leverage on dialysis clinics to increase unionized staff, passage of the measure would increase overall costs by shifting dialysis treatments from clinics to more expensive venues like emergency rooms or hospitals.

Stall economic development

For more than two decades, excise taxes on California gasoline and diesel remained flat, contributing to the erosion of purchasing power of those tax revenues and creating a backlog of maintenance and operational improvements for roads and highways. In 2017, the Legislature and Governor agreed on a $5 billion annual boost in transportation revenues to repair roads and bridges and add capacity in some of the most congested corridors.

A San Diego politician has proposed repealing the excise tax increases and subject future increases to statewide voter approval, which would freeze in place hundreds of planned transportation improvements throughout California, without a plausible replacement revenue stream.

Disrupt state governance

A Silicon Valley millionaire is again attempting to qualify a measure to break apart California, this time into three separate states, centered on the Bay Area, Greater Los Angeles and San Diego/Orange County, with the rural area divided among the new states. The new states would obviously create new and unpredictable winners and losers – economically, socially and politically. Rather than working to knit the fabric of our state more tightly together, this proposal would tear it apart.

Initiative proponents will begin submitting petitions to counties in May for signature verification. It is not too soon to begin educating affected business and industry leaders about the consequences of these proposals.

resident of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

California Needs Voter ID Laws

Voter fraud is real, pervasive, and purposed. But don’t take it from me. Listen to Alabama Democratic Rep. Artur Davis.

Davis is a unique Democrat who acknowledges voter fraud is a reality that his party deliberately ignores, and pushed back against progressives claiming that worries over voter fraud are rooted in prejudice toward minorities.

“What I have seen in my state, in my region, is the most aggressive practitioners of voter-fraud are local machines who are tied lock, stock and barrel to the special interests in their communities — the landfills, the casino operators — and they’re cooking the [ballot] boxes on election day, they’re manufacturing absentee ballots, they’re voting [in the names of] people named Donald Duck, because they want to control politics and thwart progress.”

Davis argued that voter identification would protect minorities, including non-citizens, from politicians who are lobbied by special interests groups to resist anti-fraud measures.

“If you believe in more transparency around connections in politics and money in politics, how can you not believe in transparency when it comes to the core of politics which is voting?”

My state of California is not so fortunate to have Democrats like Artur Davis, who admits Democratic Party bosses benefit from voter fraud, but rather those who teeter between outright denying voter fraud happens and fostering an environment conducive to non-citizen voting. In January 2015, California became a state that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license by revoking the need for applicants to establish proof of legal presence in the United States. Then in October 2015, under the false pretense that it’s “still too hard for Californians to register to vote,” Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law to register all eligible drivers license holders as voters unless they “opt out.”

But that wasn’t far enough. …

Click here to read the full article from the Daily Caller

New California law will automatically register illegal immigrants to vote

A new law in California that goes into effect this spring will automatically register people to vote – including immigrants who are in the country illegally.

In 2015, the state passed a law called the California New Motor Voter Act to increase voter rolls by simplifying the process to register to vote.

The legislation, which goes into effect April 1, will automatically register people who apply for a new driver’s license or new state ID at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

California has long provided driver’s licenses to anyone who claims to be in the country legally, whether they provide proof or not, which means illegal aliens will be registered to vote, WND reports. …

Click here to read the full article from the Daily Mail

Should felons be allowed to vote from behind jail bars?

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Thousands of felons serving time in county jails would be allowed to vote in California elections from behind bars under a bill moving swiftly through the state Legislature despite widespread opposition from law enforcement officials.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) introduced the measure with an aim that providing convicts the right to vote will give them a better sense of belonging to society and possibly reduce their chances of committing new crimes when released.

“Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism,” Weber told her colleagues during a recent heated floor debate on the bill.

But police chiefs and sheriffs throughout California say the proposal that passed narrowly in the state Assembly undermines a longstanding social compact: those who commit a serious crime lose not only their freedom to live in society for a time but also their right to participate in democracy. …

Click here to read the full article

Record Voter Registration in California

As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

LOS ANGELES—Amid a surge in voter interest stoked by the presidential race, nearly 18 million Californians had registered to vote by Tuesday’s elections—the highest number ever for any state before a primary, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

That figure compares with about 17.2 million registered voters before the state’s 2012 presidential primaries, according to the office.

California officials reported a boom in residents registering as Democrats within the last 45 days of the sign-up period before Tuesday’s primary. During that time about 500,000 Californians newly registered or re-registered as Democrats, 136,000 as Republicans and 60,000 without a party preference.

Of all the state’s registered voters, the office said 44.8% are Democrats, 27.3% Republicans and 23.3% have no party affiliation. Minor-party registrations make up the rest. …

Click here to read the full article

In Four Weeks, Show Politicians You Care

Howard-JarvisIt’s election season and the media has made certain that voters’ attention has been focused on the presidential primaries. But there are hundreds of state and local races, critical to our future that garner very little media attention. On June 7, California Primary voters will take the first step in selecting those candidates who will be elected in November.

Candidates for Congress, the Legislature, county boards of supervisors, city councils, and school boards will become the officials who will have a great say over the caliber of service government provides and the quality of life for all. Some office seekers will be self-serving, interested in being somebody important. Others will genuinely want to accomplish something positive for their constituents. Some will want to provide good value for taxpayers’ dollars, while others will become beholden to special interests who benefit from higher taxes and more spending.

Deciding who is whom, is the challenge.

Most of us will never meet the presidential candidates, but the opportunities to meet and size up local candidates are fairly plentiful as they strive to be heard and to distinguish themselves from their opponents.

By now, it is clear that there is a lot of anger and frustration throughout our nation and our state over the performance of government. But keep in mind that, we, the voters, have the power to make changes.

Howard Jarvis, the father of the 1978 tax revolt, used to say that if we don’t like the direction of our government or elected officials, it is up to us to work together and use our votes to make changes.

The Primary Election is just four weeks away and it is time to think about our options and to take action to make sure our friends, our family and our colleagues are registered to vote and are informed of what is at stake.

In thousands of appearances all over the state during the Proposition 13 campaign Howard delivered the following message: The people of California are the government. The people we elect are not the bosses; we are. The elected officials are just temporary employees and this is your chance to tell them you’re fed up with their record of “Tax, tax, tax; spend, spend, spend; reelect, reelect, reelect.”

Howard would warn that most legislators seek to pass legislation and appropriate money for the simple purpose of getting themselves reelected. Further, he noted that government power comes from the ignorance of the governed whom the politicians and bureaucrats have set out to discourage from participating in the political process – the people in power would be just as happy if the people they rule didn’t even bother to vote.

And Howard Jarvis had a pithy comment that seems especially appropriate today: Only the knowledge that the people care will keep the politicians honest.

We can show the politicians we care by making sure all our contacts are registered to vote and they cast ballots. Registration information can be obtained from your county registrar of voters or you may register online at the California Secretary of State’s website. Remember vote by mail ballots will be in mail boxes in just a few days. Let’s get out and vote.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

All of California’s voters are now in one online database

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

A single, instantly updated list of registered voters in California became reality on Monday, as two final counties plugged in to an electronic database mandated by a federal law enacted in the wake of the contentious 2000 presidential campaign.

In other words, a database that was long overdue.

“It’s been more than a decade in coming,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

The $98-million project allows elections officials in each of California’s 58 counties to easily track voters who move from one place to another and to quickly update their records in the event of a death or a voter deemed ineligible after conviction of a felony.

The database will allow voters to check if they are …

Click here to read the full article

The End of the Electoral College?

VotedThough it means nothing for 2016, the 2020 presidential election may be decided by popular vote — or at least that’s the timeline given by one of the main proponents.

As it stands now, there really is no national election for president, rather 51 elections (including Washington, D.C.), where electors are doled out by the states/D.C., with the winner needing at least 270 electoral votes.

But most states are a foregone conclusion. Would blue California really go for a Republican? Or would red Mississippi chose a Democrat?

In most instance, no chance, so that gives a disproportionate share of attention by presidential candidates to a relatively small group of states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

National Popular Vote is pushing to replace the current race to 270 with a simple majority of the popular vote. Bay Area campaign and election lawyer Barry Fadem, who is working with NPV, says this goal can be achieved by 2020.

How Close Are They, Really?

It may seem like a farfetched idea, but the movement is halfway there. Ten states, including California, have ratified the measure (D.C. has signed on as well). Once enough states have ratified the interstate compact to represent 270 electoral votes — a majority — the county will move to the popular vote.

Last week, the Arizona House of Representatives approved the measure. And although it hasn’t voted yet, two-thirds of the Arizona Senate are sponsors. And there are several other states where at least one chamber has approved.

The way the law is structured, the (Constiutionally-mandated) electors of the states that have ratified the compact would choose the candidate who won the popular vote. Therefore, states that didn’t sign on are free to not participate, but they wouldn’t have enough electoral votes to matter.

The theory is that these states would ultimately fall in line, as they’d then have no incentive to stay under the current system once a majority starts with the popular vote.

Why Go Through This Trouble?

Many voters are still upset that in 2000, Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore for president by winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote. While this is largely Democrats who are upset, supporters of the losing candidate would be sour in any similar situation.

“The disadvantages of the current system, of course, are first that you can have an election where the winner of the popular vote loses the election,” said Norm Ornstein, a resident scholar the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. “It happened in 2000, without many repercussions, but the next time? Watch out.”

Swing states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia have a disproportionate influence on the general election. There are 12 or so states where candidates spend most of their time because the rest are viewed as forgone conclusions. According to NPV, no campaign events were held by the 2012 presidential candidates outside of these 12 states during the general election.

“Two-thirds of the states now are irrelevant, since they are firmly blue or red, giving all the focus to a small number of competitive ones and distorting the election,” Ornstein.

Downsides

Critics have said that a close election could result in a national recount (“take Florida in 2000 and multiply by 50, with a hundred times the number of lawyers,” said Ornstein), but that the federal government really isn’t equipped to handle a recount of that magnitude.

“The federal government does not conduct elections,” said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a non-partisan political publication from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “So if there was an election that was so close a recount was required, it would have to be a 50-state recount. That sounds challenging.”

There’s also a concern that attention would shift from swing states to heavily-populated areas, like Los Angeles or New York City, on the theory that time-strapped candidates would plan visits to the densest areas to reach the most people at once.

But NPV contends that the densest cities still only make up a small part of the population. According to Census data, the 30 most heavily-populated cites account for only about 12 percent of the population — nowhere near a majority.

Is It Even Constitutional?

While something that fundamentally changes how the president is elected will likely be challenged in court, Fadem says “a Constitutional amendment is not required,” pointing to language in the Constitution giving each state the right to decide how to direct its electors.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com