A controversial California election reform bill that had been sailing through the state legislature with the inexplicable support of Democrats after being authored by a Republican lawmaker, has now been substantially rewritten — some might say ‘gutted’. And that’s a very good thing, according to Election Integrity experts we’ve spoken with. … The new provision would have been a very big change to current law and, as we reported, would restrict voters from raising funds to help pay for such a count. In the process, it would have drastically reduced the opportunity for citizen oversight of public elections in the state. Democrats in the state Assembly supported AB 2369, as authored by Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman for unknown reasons. It passed out of the lower chamber late last month by an astounding 66 to 7 vote, before being sent on to the state Senate.
… Hagman’s office told us originally that his proposal was meant to increase “transparency”. “Our goal is not to prevent third parties from contributing, or to restrict accessibility to the recount process,” Hagman’s Legislative Director said in response to our queries at the time. “Our goal is disclosure.”
But post-election hand-counts, when requested and paid for by a voter (or group of voters, under currently), are publicly and transparently carried out by county officials, no matter who pays for them. So the “transparency” argument didn’t make a lot of sense, particularly when it could result in all but the wealthiest of state voters being able to afford such oversight at all.