Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a invoice explicitly outlawing California residents from voting right here and in one other state for a similar election, closing a loophole dropped at gentle by the case of a Santa Clara County elected official who had repeatedly voted in elections held on the identical day.
Meeting Invoice 1539 makes it a misdemeanor for somebody whose main residence is in California to vote in one other state the place additionally they declare residency. The brand new legislation, signed Tuesday, was authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, and was sponsored by the Santa Clara County District Legal professional’s Workplace.
“Voting twice in the identical election in two totally different states is a violation of the precept of one-person, one-vote,” Berman mentioned in a press release.
The inspiration for the invoice got here from a 2020 San Jose Inside report that Monte Sereno Metropolis Councilmember Rowena Turner and two kinfolk had voted in elections held on the identical day in California and in Oregon, the place additionally they had a house. However prosecutors discovered themselves unable to file a cost as a result of whereas state legislation had clear directions for individuals who tried to vote twice in the identical California election, it was ambiguous about situations during which somebody did so in a number of states.
In the end, Turner, a registered Republican, was prosecuted in Oregon — which has particular legal guidelines forbidding multi-state voting — leading to a conviction and positive. However the circumstance additionally set in movement efforts to amend California legislation to match different states with strong double-voting legal guidelines.
“It was necessary for us that if this had been to occur once more, we wouldn’t should depend on one other state,” mentioned Jason Malinsky, a Santa Clara County deputy district legal professional who reviewed the South Bay double-voting case.
A significant exception to the legislation includes what are generally known as landowner voter districts, and some other district that doesn’t have residency necessities to vote.
Probably the most frequent eventualities envisioned by the brand new legislation’s architects can be individuals attempting to make use of their residences in different states to vote a number of instances for president or one other nationwide federal workplace. Within the case of the South Bay residents, authorities had been in a position to affirm that they voted in two states for a similar election, however didn’t truly view their ballots.
Which suggests it’s attainable that the residents voted for president on solely considered one of their state ballots. However Malinsky mentioned that’s irrelevant, and that the brand new legislation ensures that individuals with the means to have properties in a number of states don’t have the chance to unfairly amplify their voting energy.
“California voters and residents can be protected, and their vote can be value as a lot as anyone else’s vote,” he mentioned. “Individuals, simply primarily based on their financial standing, wouldn’t be capable of vote extra.”