California’s lawmakers have found themselves slapped with a lawsuit regarding their voter registration lists and their refusal to hand over voter information. Judicial Watch, a Washington-based activist group, filed the lawsuit earlier this week.
After President Donald Trump’s accusations about voter fraud in 2016, particularly in California, the watchdog group suggested some counties in the state, especially Los Angeles County, were not accurately accounting for the number of voters. The group claims Los Angeles is maintaining lists that are significantly larger than the voter population.
An Accurate Count?
Like most states, California has two voter registration lists – active and inactive. The lawsuit says the two lists should be combined to provide a total count of registered voters. “They don’t care about removing ineligible registration,” said Robert Popper of Judicial Watch. “I think we have a very strong lawsuit.”
Alex Padilla, Secretary of State, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit which claims the lists violate the National Voter Registration Act or NVRA.
Padilla has refused several times to provide voter information. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked Padilla as well as several other states to provide information from the voters’ lists for verification, but Padilla declined.
“To me, it’s clearly part of a concerted effort, a continued attack on voting rights and setting the stage for the Trump administration to roll back voting rights,” Padilla said.
The inactive list contains voters who have not recently cast ballots, and although those on the list are considered registered voters, they do not get election material mailed to them and are not counted in the official registration reports.
Padilla claims that combined registration in the counties — Imperial, Lassen, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Stanislaus and Yolo — exceeds 100% of the eligible voting population. Popper said his group believes it’s important to include both active and inactive voters in the tally — because inactive voters can show up and cast ballots.
Santa Cruz County has an inactive list of 44,172 names. Registrar of voters for the county, Gail Pellerin, said only 12 voters on the inactive list cast ballots last November. She explained the processes voters go through in her county were meant to ensure accuracy and comply with the law. An inactive voter, she said, who relocates to a different residence has to cast a provisional ballot. Those ballots are not counted until the person’s eligibility is confirmed by election officials.
Other counties chimed in with agreement, claiming they were complying with state and federal laws. Judicial Watch, however, was not satisfied and filed the federal lawsuit. Padilla still refuses to turn over the requested information and said Judicial Watch’s suit was a combination of “baseless assertions, bad math, and flawed methodology.”
Yet the reality is that if we can’t accurately verify who belongs on a voter roll, we can never quite be sure of an election’s integrity. The options for fraud become wider, and this destroys the faith and trust we have put into our system of government.