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

Proposed ballot measure would let California parolees vote

Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

Photo credit: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

Tens of thousands of parolees would be allowed to vote under a state constitutional amendment proposed Monday by California’s secretary of state and Democratic lawmakers who called it the next civil rights issue.

The proposal intended for the 2020 ballot would help nearly 50,000 felons who have served their time adjust to being back in the community, said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and other advocates. Parolees currently are prohibited from registering to vote in local, state or federal elections.

California is one of several states that have or are considering expanding voting rights for felons. The proposal would include murderers, rapists and others convicted of violent crimes. It would not affect criminals until they are released from custody, unlike in some other states.

The proposal continues California’s pattern in recent years of reducing sentences and increasing earlier releases from prison, said Christine Ward, executive director of the Crime Victims Action Alliance. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press

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.

How Dems apparently used election law change to rout California Republicans

vote ballotsA minor change in California’s election laws may have had a major effect on last month’s midterm elections that saw Democrats steamroll their Republican rivals and claim all but seven of the Golden State’s 53 House seats.

Despite holding substantial leads on Election Day, many Republican candidates in California saw their advantage shrink, and then disappear, as late-arriving Democratic votes were counted in the weeks following the election. While no hard evidence is available, many observers point to the Democrats use of “ballot harvesting” as a key to their success in the elections.

“Anecdotally there was a lot of evidence that ballot harvesting was going on,” Neal Kelley, the registrar for voters in Southern California’s Orange County, told Fox News.

In Orange County – once seen as a Republican stronghold in the state– every House seat went to a Democrat after an unprecedented “250,000” vote-by-mail drop-offs were counted, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

California Democrats Rewrite Voting Rules in Their Favor

VotedElection night was painful for California Republicans, but it was nothing compared to the slow torture we’ve endured ever since.

For three agonizing weeks, Republicans have watched registrars update their tallies with late absentee and provisional ballots. From Orange County to the Bay Area, it’s the same story playing out with different candidates: Democrats flipping seats with late ballots.

First, Mimi Walters. Then, Young Kim. Now, David Valadao.

It’s not unusual for late absentee and provisional ballots to break against Republicans. What is unusual is the scale of the carnage. As of this writing, Republicans lost election night leads for five members of Congress, three state Assembly races, two state Senate seats and a Board of Equalization candidate.

Even the Associated Press was caught off-guard by late ballot counting. It has called California’s 21st Congressional District for Republican incumbent David Valadao only to retract its decision three weeks later. If the independent organization “which sets the standard for calling races across the journalism industry” is getting races wrong, something’s changed in California.

Legislative Democrats have rewritten election rules in their favor to expand voter eligibility, automatically register every voter, eliminate voting integrity laws and encourage questionable campaign tactics, such as ballot harvesting.

California has entered an era of near universal suffrage with illegal immigrants, felons, inmates and minors registering to vote. San Francisco now allows “people in the country illegally and other noncitizens the right to vote in a local election,” according to the Associated Press. The city has spent at least $310,000 in tax dollars to register 49 non-citizens to vote. …

Click here to read the full article from the OC Register

California Voters Take Free Market Positions On Some Key Ballot Measures

VotingOn Nov. 6, California voters defeated a statewide rent control measure and Los Angeles city voters declined to move forward with a public bank. These results suggest the electorate has the economic wisdom to turn back some of the state’s worst economy-damaging impulses. And it may even augur well for market-friendly policy ideas in the Golden State going forward.

Proposition 10, a measure which would have restored local governments’ ability to impose new rent control laws, was defeated by a wide margin. More than 60 percent of those voting on the measure opted to retain the Costa-Hawkins Act, a state law that prohibits local rent controls on properties built since the mid-1990s. Passage of the measure would have freed cities like Santa Monica to impose price controls on new rental housing, thereby likely choking off the already insufficient amount of new residential housing construction going up in California.

The vote against Proposition 10, along with the passage of two statewide affordable housing bond measures and a new corporate tax to support homeless services in San Francisco is suggestive of a pattern. Voters, aware of skyrocketing housing costs and widespread homelessness, want to see more housing supply.

New housing units can be added most cost-effectively inland, where land acquisition costs are lower. Unfortunately, a lot of the bond funds will be devoted to central city residential in-fill projects that could be built privately for market rents and without subsidies. While San Francisco’s leaders have rightly called for a regional approach to the Bay Area’s housing crisis, what is really needed is a statewide strategy.

It would be much cheaper to build large amounts of supportive housing well inland. The state should deploy affordable housing bond proceeds away from San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego, where land acquisition costs are so high. Instead, the state should consider increasing the amount of social service funding it makes available to inland counties if they approve affordable housing units and take in homeless or under-housed individuals from coastal counties.

In Los Angeles, voters rejected a measure that would have paved the way for the city to create a public bank. Municipal and state-owned banks have become a holy grail for some activists in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The Bush administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) reinforced suspicions that banking is a one-way bet, with bankers reaping windfall profits and big compensation packages during the good times and then handing taxpayers the bill for bad loans when the music stops. Why not end this rollercoaster through public ownership, the reasoning goes.

But, as recent experiences in Germany show, public banks don’t necessarily protect taxpayers; indeed, they often heighten risks to the public purse. While TARP loans were ultimately repaid with interest, failures at multiple German publicly-owned banks necessitated tax funded bailouts that will never be recouped.

A better way to take the excess profits and cushy compensation packages out of banking is to encourage more competition—from both for-profit startups and not for profits.

Web-based, peer-to-peer lending platforms like LendingClub make it easier for savers and borrowers to connect with one another while limiting the amount taken by intermediaries. Alternative payment providers like Veem compete with expensive funds transfer services offered by banks. In recent years, the term fintech has come to embrace a wide array of technology-driven financial innovations that provide viable alternatives to consumers frustrated with banks. It is worth noting that banks have responded with significant innovations of their own – as anyone who deposits checks via their smartphone or uses Zelle for interbank transfers can confirm.

Alternative banking does not necessarily have to be a for-profit enterprise. Kiva is a non-profit that helps borrowers in 80 countries obtain subsidized microloans to help them start businesses. Another financial non-profit, EARN, helps low-income families save for retirement and other purposes.

So rather than pursue an initiative that could impose more risk on the community, public bank advocates in Los Angeles and elsewhere should consider partnering with startups and non-profits to provide better, cheaper and more socially responsible financial services.  The $44,000 advocates raised for the Los Angeles public banking ballot measure could have more usefully invested in microloans to struggling Angelinos.

As for the potentially positive long-term political and policy implications, it seems many Californians remain open to economically rational public policies.

This article was originally published by the Reason Foundation

It Will Be A While Until All Votes Are Counted

vote ballotsWhile some elections offices say all their precincts have reported, workers aren’t close to counting all of the ballots.

That’s because a precinct is counted as reporting after all ballots received are submitted to the county elections office, not after those ballots have been tabulated.

Janna Haynes, spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections Department, said the results that were released at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning make up more than one-third of the ballots that the county has received.

“We have 185,000 and some change that have been tabulated, calculated and results released,” Haynes said. “We have already partially processed another 175,000 ballots. And there’s probably another 150,000 sitting here that haven’t even been counted yet.”

And then there are the ballots that were mailed in. The county will conduct a final pickup of those ballots on Friday and should have the voter turnout numbers by Monday. …

Click here to read the full article from Capital Public Radio

What Employers Need to Know About Election Day

VotedUnder California law, employers and employees have rights and obligations related to election day. These provisions of law are found in the California Elections Code as set forth below:

If a voter does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote at a statewide election, the voter may, without loss of pay, take off enough working time that will enable the voter to vote. (Elections Code Section 14000(a))

No more than two hours of the time taken off for voting shall be without loss of pay. The time off for voting shall be only at the beginning or end of the regular working shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift, unless otherwise mutually agreed between the employer and employee. (Elections Code Section 14000(b))

If the employee on the third working day prior to the day of election, knows or has reason to believe that time off will be necessary to be able to vote on election day, the employee shall give the employer at least two working days’ notice that time off for voting is desired, in accordance with this section. (Elections Code Section 14000(c))

Although this requirement has passed as of this article, not less than 10 days before every statewide election, every employer shall keep posted conspicuously at the place of work, if practicable, or elsewhere where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work, a notice setting forth the provisions of Section 14000. (Elections Code Section 14001)

Note that both Sections 14000 and 14001 shall apply to all public agencies and their employees, as well as to employers and employees in private industry. (Elections Code Section 14002)

Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily