New California Law Makes Voting in 2 States a Misdemeanor

New California Law Makes Voting in 2 States a Misdemeanor
Voters cast their ballots in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 5, 2018. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Rudy Blalock
10/24/2023
Updated:
12/30/2023

A new California law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 10, makes it a misdemeanor for California residents to vote in another state, if they have already voted in an election in California on the same date.

Authored by Assemblyman Marc Berman (D–Menlo Park), Assembly Bill 1539 aimed to clean up the state’s prior law, which didn’t cover those who vote in California and in another state either in person or via a mail-in ballot.

“Voting twice in the same election in two different states is a violation of the principle of one-person, one-vote,” said Mr. Berman in a press release the day his bill received the governor’s signature. “AB 1539 ensures that California does not have to rely on another states’ laws to address the issue of multi-state double voting.”

According to a Senate analysis of the bill, 13 states prohibit voting in multiple states including Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado.

Mr. Berman said in the same analysis he drafted the bill after learning about a couple who had voted both in California and Oregon for elections five times since 2010, which was discovered by the Santa Clara County District Attorney.

In Oregon, doing such is a felony.

“One person, one vote. It’s our Democracy and we have to take care of it,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen in the same press release.

Three additional residents of Santa Clara County were discovered by Mr. Rosen to have voted in both California and another state, but his office was forced to defer their prosecution to the other states because of California’s incomplete law, according to the press release.

Mr. Berman, again in the analysis, stated the new law seeks to further strengthen election integrity to counter any claims saying elections aren’t safe in California.

“Voter fraud is exceedingly rare and it is vitally important that any instances not be used to promote baseless claims to undermine confidence in our elections,” he said.

The Election Integrity Project California—a nonpartisan volunteer group which advocates for election integrity—said in a letter of opposition that the new law has too soft of a penalty, with only a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

“Voters need to know that their state officials, legislators and law enforcement officials are protective of their rights, especially their civil right to be secure in knowing that each citizen gets ONE vote, that no one is more “equal” than anyone else, and that the penalty for breaching that trust is severe enough to be a powerful deterrent,” their letter reads, according to the recent bill analysis.

Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.