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Get Ready: California-Style Elections Are Coming to Your State

If you thought the 2018 elections in California were a mess, you were right. Dangerous new election laws and lax practices contributed to that mess, and now they want the rest of the nation to suffer the way Californians do.

First, the mess. Election Integrity Project, California (EIPCa), a group of concerned citizens in California, has been documenting problems in the state’s election system for years. We have done the hard, messy work on the ground to catalog the problems.

California election officials and legislators have turned our elections into a free-for-all, with few safeguards, all in the name of “voter access."

Recent initiatives include “top two” primary elections, automatic voter registration, allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections, allowing mail ballots to arrive after Election Day, rejecting voter ID, removing restrictions on who can handle and return mail ballots (aka ballot “harvesting”), same-day registration and voting, allowing voters to “cure” their mail ballot signature mismatches via the honor system and, in 2020, providing all registrants with mail ballots.

These are the election laws that some now want to make a federal mandate nationwide.

In some cases, officials simply ignore election laws intended to safeguard California elections. When EIPCa alerted election officials about widespread non-compliance with the few state laws protecting election integrity, election officials continued to ignore the laws and the legislature simply changed those laws rather than comply.

Adding to the mess, “reform” advocates have sprung new initiatives just before our elections with little testing and many technical problems.

Automatic DMV voter registration, known as the state’s New Motor Voter Program, was launched just before the June 2018 primary. It automatically mis-registered 23,000 people, including many ineligible registrants. Not to worry. This effort specifically exempted from prosecution everyone who was ineligible — such as non-citizens — if they “inadvertently” became registered and voted. The problem is that there is no way to reach into the count and remove their votes from the blended tally.

These DMV-generated registration errors were pervasive in California’s November 6, 2018, election. EIPCa observers documented hundreds of angry voters at the polls who found they were re-registered by the DMV as mail voters without their consent. Though registered as mail voters, they did not receive mail ballots, had none to surrender and had to vote provisionally.

This is the chaos that some want as federal law.

Much has been written since the election about how ballot “harvesting” dissolved double-digit leads in several key California House races. What has not been published is that, based on EIPCa observers’ documentation, thousands — possibly hundreds of thousands-- of the state’s mail voters never received their mail ballots, though the counties had announced successful mailings in early October.

Vote by mail is a disaster because it encourages criminal activity in voting, and also puts our elections in the unreliable hands of the United States Postal Service.