California’s June 7 primary election is fast approaching, and the state with the most registered voters in the U.S. is far from ready. For one, the list of candidates currently vying for retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat is so mob-deep that it’s forcing counties to reconfigure their ballots to accommodate all the names. Meanwhile, confusion and resentment is festering among independent voters over a lack of rule uniformity and clarity regarding their right to vote in the primaries. All of this, combined with an expected voter-turnout surge, has led to lawsuits demanding that the state extend its voter registration period up to the primary election date. However, “The infrastructure’s not in place” for such an extension, Orange County voter registrar Neal Kelley told the L.A. Times.
That’s because the funding is not in place—because California, like most states in the U.S., has still not figured out how to pay for its elections administration, despite its central role in making sure government functions properly. A new study from the budget-reform nonprofit California Forward, however, points to a number of solutions for helping the state finally figure out this mess. And if California can resolve its election-funding woes—a pitiful plight for just about every U.S. state—then perhaps voters could finally cast ballots without waiting in lines longer than the ones at Six Flags.
The key to this, according to the study, is simply modernizing California’s defective ballot machines and antiquated voter registration process. This means mining a lot of R&D for new voting technology—and there’s plenty out there—and rolling out new safe, sound elections applications when needed. But that’s not so simple when the funding to do so is sketchy.
“There is no effective long-term funding mechanism for voting equipment in California,” reads the report. “There is no strategy in place to fund replacement of aging voting systems in the future.”