California Bill Banning Hand Counting of Election Ballots Nears Law Passage

A Bill to Ban Hand Counting of Ballots in ‍California Moves Forward

A bill that could ‍have a significant⁢ impact ​on future elections⁢ in California is​ making its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.⁢ Assembly Bill‌ 969, authored by Assemblywoman Gail Pellerin, aims to prohibit the hand counting of ballots in most ⁢elections in the state.

The bill states that any regularly ‍scheduled election with over 1,000 registered voters or ⁤special​ elections with over 5,000 registered voters⁣ would be⁢ required to use state-approved machines for vote counting.

Supporters of⁣ the bill argue that ​using voting⁢ machines ⁤ensures secure, auditable, and⁢ accessible voting systems. Assemblywoman⁣ Pellerin expressed ⁢her⁤ belief in the effectiveness of voting⁣ systems‌ in a post on Instagram.

“[AB 969 will] ensure that ‌all Californians have access to secure, auditable, and accessible‌ voting systems. Voting systems are faster, more accurate, and a tried⁢ and‌ tested way of counting votes,” Ms. Pellerin wrote on Instagram after the bill’s passage.

However, the bill does‍ allow for hand counting in ⁤certain circumstances, such as during natural disasters or states of ⁤emergency​ when electronic voting​ systems are impractical.

The bill has received support along party lines and has undergone multiple amendments ⁤before passing in⁢ both legislative houses.‍ It is a⁤ response‌ to the decision made by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors to cancel ​their lease agreement with Dominion Voting Systems and​ opt for hand-counting ballots‍ instead.

If AB 969 becomes ​law, Shasta County and other counties in California would be prohibited from conducting manual vote counts, potentially impacting the upcoming special ⁤election⁢ in Shasta County​ on November 7.

The League of Women​ Voters‍ of California, ​a Sacramento-based political organization, ​supports the bill, stating that Shasta County’s actions have put their elections ‍at‌ risk and diminished public trust. They also express concerns that other⁣ counties ‍may follow‍ suit without legislation ⁢like AB ⁢969.

Opponents of the bill argue‍ that machine voting has its flaws and that relying solely on technology can be unreliable and manipulatable. The Shasta County Board ‍of⁣ Supervisors, in ​their decision to use hand-counting, believed they were acting responsibly and meeting the needs of their⁢ county ​based ⁣on evidence and considerations.

As the bill awaits Gov. Newsom’s decision, its potential impact on ​future elections in California remains a ⁢topic of ⁤debate.

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