California leads the nation in election chaos and confusion. Huntington Beach shows a way forward. – Orange County Register


As America’s most populous state, California often leads the nation in both bad and good ideas.  After the recent primary election, both extremes were present. In San Francisco, for the first time, a noncitizen serves as a member of the city/county election commission, helping to determine election policies, procedures and ultimately results.

Meanwhile, my hometown of Huntington Beach, Surf City USA, is going in the opposite direction. Huntington Beach just voted to adopt a voter ID measure in city elections, a common sense voter confidence measure already adopted in 34 states.

While Huntington Beach is doing its best to give all voters more faith in our elections, San Francisco highlights the chaos and confusion that lead to voters on all sides lacking confidence in the voting process.

San Francisco does not stop at appointing a noncitizen to the Elections Commission, the city allows noncitizens to vote in school board elections. Seventy-nine percent of Americans reject noncitizen voting, with good reason. In addition to making our elections less secure, it creates administrative challenges for election officials.

And if ever there was a state that needed to make things easier for election officials instead of harder, it is California. California is literally the last state to report election results. Just how bad are elections in California? Last year in Oakland, after lengthy vote-counting delays, the wrong person was declared the winner in a school board election.

Part of the problem is California voting rolls are arguably the worst in the nation. A 2020 report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation found that California was in the top five states for the greatest number of deceased voters participating in the 2016 and 2018 elections and led the nation with the number of interstate duplicate voter registrations credited with voting in more than one state.

Though California was forced to clean up some of its voter rolls, the cleanup is far from complete. In recent months 27 California counties removed five or fewer voter registrations in a two-year federal reporting period, 19 counties reported no data at all, and 21 counties had “more voter registrations than citizens of voting age.

Clean voter lists have bipartisan support, 10 years ago President Obama’s Commission on Election Administration declared them a priority. Because federal law prohibits noncitizens and illegal aliens from voting in federal elections, the move to allow noncitizen voting in California with its inaccurate lists is especially problematic. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 26.7 percent of California’s population of nearly 40 million residents are foreign born, with an estimated 45.6 percent of that number, or over 4.8 million, being noncitizens. Add in automatic voter registration and permitting illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses while banning localities from requiring photo ID to vote, and the state has a recipe for electoral disaster.

Considering California’s long history of failing to maintain voter registration rolls, there is no way San Francisco can accurately maintain two separate rolls.

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