During this primary election cycle in Riverside County, hundreds of voter record abnormalities were identified, a situation exacerbated on Election Day when voters whose records had been altered without their knowledge were threatened with disenfranchisement. In response, I am introducing legislation to update and secure California’s online voter registration procedures.
Unauthorized voter record changes reported in Riverside County included changes to party affiliation, addresses and preferences regarding mail-only voting. It is clear from the initial investigation that records had been altered online without voter consent, resulting in potential disenfranchisement that was only prevented when the Riverside DA’s office sent out investigators to ensure that provisional ballots were provided to the impacted voters.
My legislation will update pre-computer era security procedures by providing additional protections for voters in the digital age. Specifically, any online record update or change made through the Registrar of Voters website would require the Registrar to confirm with the voter any changes prior to updating the record. This requirement would be very similar to precautions currently taken by many private companies to prevent identity theft and safeguard customer financial records.
The ability to hold free and fair elections in which all eligible voters are allowed to exercise their franchise without interference or tampering is the bedrock of our representative Republic. Voter disenfranchisement undermines confidence in our election process. Guaranteeing the sanctity of elections should be a bi-partisan concern upon which we can all agree.