Imagine using a dial-up modem for Internet and VHS for entertainment in 2017. California elections officials say they face a similar situation with the technology used for a bedrock function of democracy. It’s why Secretary of State Alex Padilla supports a bill to raise $450 million through bonds to upgrade elections technology in California’s 58 counties. The bill, AB 668, passed the Assembly 56-19 on Wednesday, May 31. If it passes the Senate and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California voters will decide whether to authorize the bonds in June 2018. Republicans argue the bill, known as the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018, is a costly and wrong-headed approach to upgrading elections systems. “The right to vote is our most important right,” said the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego. “But local election officials have to rely on equipment that is rapidly becoming outdated or obsolete.”
“We have a responsibility and a duty to modernize our voting equipment for future elections,” said Padilla, an elected Democrat. “An investment in modern voting systems will help protect the integrity of our elections and better serve voters.”
Dean Logan, Los Angeles County registrar-recorder/county clerk, supports the bill.
“We are on the threshold of delivering a more secure, transparent and accessible voting experience in California — one that positions us as leaders in the country,” said Logan.