National Watchdog Group Warns California & Solano County to Clean Voter Lists

Judicial Watch, a national watchdog group, has sent a notice-of-violation letter to the state of California and 11 of its counties threatening to sue in federal court if voter registration lists are not cleaned up as mandated by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Both the NVRA and the federal Help America Vote Act require states to take reasonable steps to maintain accurate voting rolls.
Judicial Watch noted public records obtained on the Election Assistance Commission’s 2016 Election Administration Voting Survey and through verbal accounts from various county agencies show 11 California counties have more registered voters than voting-age citizens: Imperial (102%), Lassen (102%), Los Angeles (112%), Monterey (104%), San Diego (138%), San Francisco (114%), San Mateo (111%), Santa Cruz (109%), Solano (111%), Stanislaus (102%), and Yolo (110%).
Judicial Watch noted Los Angeles County officials “informed us that the total number of registered voters now stands at a number that is a whopping 144% of the total number of resident citizens of voting age.”
Under Section 8 of the NVRA, states are required to make a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from official lists due to “the death of the registrant” or “a change in the residence of the registrant,” and requires states to ensure noncitizens are not registered to vote.
There is “strong circumstantial evidence that California municipalities are not conducting reasonable voter registration list maintenance as mandated under the NVRA,” Judicial Watch wrote in the notice letter sent to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
“California’s voting rolls are an absolute mess that undermines the very idea of clean elections,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
Solano County’s Assistant Registrar of VotersDeputy John Gardner explained the discrepancy here is between a list including both active and inactive voters. The active voters is only 78% of those eligible. The 111% includes inactive, who cannot vote until they verify their residency.
The Solano elections department regularly sends out post cards to vote well in advance of elections. If the post office returns the cards another notice is sent to the voter before they are placed on inactive status.
“The post office charges us for mailings that are returned,” Gardner noted, “It is a lot cheaper to pay for a returned postcard than for the heavy voters’ ballot information pamphlet.”
Gardner stated “The question is how long someone should stay on the list – even the inactive list – before being dropped. We have to err on the side of the voter.”
Gardner said voter registration list clean-up is an everyday effort. The county gets lists of deceased person from vital statistics, and updates from the Department of Corrections for convicted felons no longer allowed to vote.

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