Election integrity win: California city adds voter ID amendment to primary ballot

2D6MH6X IRVINE, CALIFORNIA - 18 OCT 2020: Woman placing mail in ballot in an Official Ballot Drop Box at a public park, Irvine, Orange County, California.

Photo: Alamy

Election integrity advocates had a reason to celebrate in California this month as the Huntington Beach City Council made a surprising decision to move an amendment forward that would require photo identification for the city’s voters.

According to a report from Courthouse News Service, the amendment would take effect in 2026 if it is voted into law in 2024, and it would move election authority away from Orange County, directly putting the city’s election into the hands of Huntington Beach.

Election integrity has become a hot-button topic in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. In 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed legislation to make universal vote-by-mail ballots permanent statewide, meaning all California citizens actively registered to vote will receive a mail-in ballot with each election.

President Donald Trump has strongly condemned the voting processes in the Golden State, referring to it as “a rigged voting system.” In recent remarks delivered in Anaheim, California, the 45th president explained of the general election, “It’s a RIGGED system, but it’s a shame that it’s been allowed to go on.”

Mail-in voting became nationally widespread in 2020 with the onset of the Covid pandemic as a purported solution for those concerned about the risks of voting in person.

According to the Courthouse News Service report, Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark hit back against arguments that having voter identification somehow oppresses minority voter turnout. She stated, “I’m Hispanic. I had an ID as a teenager. We were poor, not ignorant.”

The city will include the amendment on the 2024 primary ballot in March despite a warning letter from the California Secretary of State’s office that pressured the council to “reject this proposed charter amendment,” claiming that it “conflicts with State Law on a Matter of Statewide Concern.”

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