James V. Lacy

Democrats sponsoring host of bills to change election procedures

Democrats in Sacramento are not being shy about using their supra-majority clout in both chambers of the state Legislature, and they are offering a host of bad new bills to change the election process.  Here are just a few of them:

-AB 530, by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, Orange County’s newest Democrat lawmaker, would allow counties to  accept absentee ballot applications over the phone;

-SB 29, by Senator Lou Correa, would allow counting of mail-in ballots received as long as three days after the election;

-AB 400, Assemblyman Fong, would require content in initiative petitions to name top donors paying to circulate the petitions;

-SB 756, Senator Galgiani, allows Election Day voter registration to begin immediately in 2014, instead of waiting for an online voter registration system in development;

-AB 938, by Assemblymember Shirley Weber, would allow some felons, such as postrelease felons under supervision (a type of parole) to vote;

-AB 149, also by Assemblymember Weber, which would require that voter information packages and registration cards be provided to all inmates at county jails and state prisons.

There are a few good bills being introduced by Republicans, which may not have much of a chance in the current political environment, but they are still good bills:

-AB 1170 by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, which would require counties to update voter files and remove inactive voters from the voter file, rather and just permissively allowing it;

-AB 843 by Assemblyman Dan Logue, which requires proof of residency for a conditional registration application to be effective.

State Senator Lou Correa also has a highly unconstitutional bill, SB 26, that picks on election slate mail again, that attempts to address issues already resolved twice in Federal court civil rights actions against the FPPC and provisions of the Correa bill.  It will undoubtedly end up in court if passed, with the state once again having to dole out funds for plaintiffs lawyers in a civil rights action.  That tab is already $250,000 just for plaintiffs’ lawyers in slate mail litigation the state has lost on constitutional grounds.  And of course, if the bill passes, I expect to be one of those plaintiffs!