News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
Justine Sullivan/Getty Images

California is one of 16 states that automatically registers people to vote when they conduct business with state agencies like the DMV.

GOP lawsuit says California voter registration is porous to non-citizens

California's automatic voter registration system is violating federal law by not verifying the citizenship of applicants, a Republican attorney alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court.

The suit challenges a system that's meant to boost civic engagement by adding eligible people to the rolls whenever they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles. So-called AVR is also in place in 15 other states and congressional Democrats are all behind legislation to make it the national standard.

But the system in the nation's most populous state has faced several problems since its implementation in April 2018, most of which California officials have ascribed to technology failures. Six ineligible people voted in the June congressional primaries and two of them went on to vote in the November midterm. And the DMV reported it made 105,000 registration errors between the launch and Election Day.

The suit, filed by attorney Harmeet Dhillon on behalf of a group of Republican voters, wants to compel the DMV to provide election administrators with more records that can prove citizenship and eligibility.

"We want the secretary of state to do his job, which is to ensure that only eligible voters are placed on the voter rolls," she told the Sacramento Bee.

"This is nothing more than an underhanded attempt to bring their voter suppression playbook to California," Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, replied in a statement.

News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.

Ballot measures are good democracy — but only if you can understand them

Marginal improvements have been made to help voters understand the questions posed to them on the ballot this November, a new study concludes, but such ballot measures still favor the college-educated — who represent a minority of the U.S. population.

This year voters in eight states will decide the fate of a collective 36 such propositions. In a study released Thursday, Ballotpedia assessed how easy it is to comprehend what each proposal would accomplish, concluding that the difficulty level had decreased compared with the referendums decided in the last off-year election of 2017 — but not by much.

In fact, according to a pair of well-established tests, 21 of the 36 ballot measures cannot be understood by the 40 percent of the voting-age population who never attended college.

Keep reading... Show less
Balance of Power
teguhjatipras/Getty Images

Two states asking Supreme Court for permission to regulate Electoral College conduct

Colorado has become the second state to ask the Supreme Court to decide if states may legally bind their presidential electors to vote for the candidate who carried their state.

The issue of so-called faithless electors is the latest aspect of an increasingly heated debate about the virtues and flaws of the Electoral College that has blossomed, especially among progressive democracy reform advocates, now that two of the past five presidential winners (Donald Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000) got to the Oval Office despite losing the national popular vote.

Keep reading... Show less