Voter Registration Exceeds Eligible Citizens in 11 California Counties

Voter Registration Exceeds Eligible Citizens in 11 California Counties

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Deborah Stoner, Foreign Policy Contributor

Opinion - As we can see from the voting scam in Venezuela, the freedom to vote is a freedom that Americans must work hard to preserve. Unfortunately, eleven California counties have failed in protecting that freedom though accurate voting records, resulting in clear discrepancies. According to Judicial Watch’s research, Imperial, Lassen, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Stanislaus, and Yolo counties have more voters than eligible citizens, up to percentages of 144% eligible citizens registered to vote. 

In a warning letter to the California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, Judicial Watch mentions that the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), requires states to keep reasonable maintenance on their voter records. While four counties can claim less than 5% above their maximum legitimate amount, two counties are over one-fourth their eligible population, if you include the statistics retrieved via phone from LA county officials. However, since some eligible voters do not register to vote, all statistics should have some “wiggle room” for a decent number of mistakes, meaning there are quite a few discrepancies in the aforementioned categories. 

In order to encourage the state to clean their records, Judicial Watch has promised legal action on the state of California should the issue remain unresolved. Many citizens may ask why this is an issue in the first place. According to my research, these are three potential issues with the California voting system, including but not limited to the ease of registering, the new online system, and the difficulty of canceling registration. 

It is very easy to register to vote in California. As the second US state to pass automatic voter registration from DMV information, there are many ways to become registered. The system is “opt-in” unless the individual identifies themselves as a foreigner. As one can imagine, this may allow a significant number of undocumented immigrants, and potentially parolees, to become registered voters. In my perusal of the Secretary of State online voting process, you only need to provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number, which I assume can be easily stolen or guessed and never verified. Additionally, a driver's license number is requested but not mandatory.

The second factor is the online voting system. The government in general has trouble attracting the best and brightest to their workforce, as many young, intelligent programmers are drawn to companies that promise them better work lives and higher salaries than the government’s strict programs and excessive paperwork. Thus, the online system may be generally susceptible to intelligent, perhaps even foreign hacking efforts. It would be simple to add non-existent voters to the CA database by registering with an out of state or false last four digits of a Social Security Number, and marking no driver’s license. When I first registered as a voter, I did not have a driver’s license, and was still able to vote. Thus, I believe the online system to have some hacking potential that includes non-visual verification and only a partial Social Security number. 

The last factor is the difficulty of canceling voter registration. In the past few days, my husband and I moved out of California. As someone with an interest in government and voting, I decided to be responsible and attempt to remove my voter registration. The start of my journey was traveling from the state website to my county’s website, only then to be unable to find the cancellation page, so I had to ask a live chat individual where I could cancel my registration. I now have to mail a letter to California with my signature stating that I would like to cancel my registration. There is no online option to cancel registration in Orange County, or in LA County. It’s a such a hassle that I can’t imagine many beyond the strictest lawful individuals actually making the effort. 

California desperately needs to develop more efficient systems to vet voters and maintain voter records. Otherwise, they may find themselves in a legal hole in which they are in the wrong. Beyond that, if someone in California could add a way to cancel my husband’s registration online, that would be awesome. He’s currently a member of the 144% registered voters of LA County. 

Follow this author on Twitter @UCDavisEngineer

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