Senate Bill 1316 - Elections Code Spot Bill

February 24, 2020

Summary:

Senate Bill 1316 would direct the next Secretary of State to apply for membership with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), an interstate database that coordinates the communication of voter information between states to ensure duplicative and inaccurate voter registrations are corrected.

SB 1316 is a bi-partisan bill coauthored by Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside) and Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).

Background:

The voting process can be seen as having two-steps; registering to vote and casting a ballot. Many measures have been taken, both in California and nationally, to ensure these steps are available and accessible to as many people as possible, while also balancing the security and integrity of our democracy.

A 2012 study[1] conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts found that across the country 1 in 8 voter registrations are inaccurate. These findings triggered efforts to clean up the nationwide voter rolls and resulted in the establishment of ERIC. ERIC’s main function is to be a depository of voter registration data that can be compared between states. Since its founding, 25 states plus DC have joined ERIC and effectively corrected 3.6 million out-of-state movers, 9.4 million in-state updates, 412,000 in-state duplicates and 334,000 deceased voters.

In California, county election officials are tasked with maintaining the voter rolls and correcting inaccurate voter registrations. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requires states to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters.” Failure to comply with this provision has resulted in successful litigation against counties, such as Los Angeles, where a settlement filed in US District Court required the county to remove millions of inactive voters from the voter roll.[2]

[1] Pew Charitable Trusts, “Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade”, February 2012
[2] Judicial Watch, Inc., et al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al. (2017)

Contact:

Ryan Gardiner, (916) 651-4037
Ryan.Gardiner@sen.ca.gov