Judicial Watch, a non-partisan educational foundation, reported in a press release in January that they signed a settlement with the State of California and the County of Los Angeles, pressuring the county to clean up voter registry files.
In 2017, Judicial Watch filed a federal lawsuit to force Los Angeles County to remove inactive individuals from its voter registry.
The Epoch Times interviewed Steven Bailey, a law attorney and retired California Superior Court Judge, to gain a better understanding of the election integrity situation in California. Bailey was a candidate for attorney general in the 2018 election.
According to Judicial Watch, Los Angeles County has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population, meaning there are more people on the registry than the number of known eligible people physically living in the area.
“Judicial Watch, in the lawsuit, were able to prove there are people who’ve died and ought to be taken off the roll. You and I would agree that if you’re dead, you don’t get to continue voting. There are people who have moved and have multiple registrations in L.A. County. Those need to be cleaned up,” said Bailey.
Los Angeles’ voter registry currently contains both active and inactive voters. Some people who have also moved out of the area are still on the registry.
As a result, ballots are still sent out to people who are no longer living at the registered address. This situation opens a door of opportunity for election fraud or other dishonesty.
Bailey said that when voter ballots are mailed out to everyone on the list, no one has control over what happens to ballots for inactive individuals.
Although Judicial Watch primarily pays attention to the Los Angeles area, the issue of election integrity also holds true for the rest of California.
“Part of what election integrity is doing right now is monitoring not only what’s happening in Los Angeles to clean up the voter files,” said Bailey. “Judicial Watch kind of watches L.A., but there are a number of lawyers now; we will start pushing on San Diego.”
He said they would also start pushing other counties to start cleaning up their files.
However, there is more to the issue of election integrity than just cleaning up voter files.
“There is the whole issue of ballot harvesting,” Bailey said.
Ballot harvesting is when someone turns in a ballot meant for someone else. In some states, it refers to the legal practice of third-party collection of multiple absentee ballots for submission. Ballot harvesting carries the risk of people stealing ballots, filling out forms for other people, and forging the intended recipient’s signature.
“The law was fairly specific, but there’s still ambiguity in it. The specificity was you can’t pay a person to go out and collect ballots. So, what was being done in California wasn’t paying you to go out and collect the ballots, but you might work for the campaign, generally doing all kinds of things, and one of the functions you have is to go out and collect ballots,” Bailey said.
He said that while these people aren’t getting paid per ballot they collect, they are being paid by the campaign to collect ballots as a task.
“That would seem counter to the law,” said Bailey.
Congress recently introduced H.R.1, also known as the For the People Act.
“One of the things they are going to prohibit in H.R.1 is cleaning up the voter files,” Bailey stated.
Additionally, the resolution aims to force states to implement early voting, online voter registration, and “no-fault” absentee balloting, among other things.
Another factor of election integrity lies with the addition of non-citizens voting in elections.
According to U.S. Code Title 18 § 611, it is unlawful for non-citizens “to vote in any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner.”
The law further states that whether non-citizens can vote in local elections is determined by individual state constitutions and local ordinances.
There is evidence that undocumented individuals are registering to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which would inadvertently give them access to voting in federal elections, Bailey said.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 was originally created to encourage citizens to register to vote through the DMV. However, some states like California both implemented automatic voter registration at the DMV and allowed non-citizens to obtain driver licenses, which led to some people being mistakenly registered to vote.