Voter Integrity Bills Authored by Salas Signed into Law
SACRAMENTO – Last week, the Governor signed Assemblymember Salas’s voter integrity bills into law. Assembly Bill (AB) 17 and Assembly Bill (AB) 299, authored by Assemblymember Salas, increases protection for workers against voter intimidation from employers and streamlines communication between county election officials and the Secretary of State to provide voters with the most up-to-date information about an election.
“I am thrilled to see that my bills to protect workers and improve our elections have been signed into law,” said Assemblymember Salas. “These bills will protect our workers against unfair intimidation and will help voters access the most recent results during an important election. We need to continue to make sure that all voters are able to cast their ballots without feeling undue pressure from others and that the public has up-to-date, accurate information during an election. I am thankful that the Governor saw the positive impact that this legislation will have on our elections.”
AB 17, also known as the “Voter Protection Act,” addresses voter intimidation and protects free and fair elections by prohibiting an employer from requiring that an employee bring their vote by mail ballot to work. According to a study commissioned by Columbia University’s School of International, Public Affairs and Politics, one-third of workers worried about retaliation if they didn’t follow corporate wishes. The practice of requesting or requiring employees to bring their ballots into work could create unfair pressure on workers to vote in a way that aligns with their employer’s interests. By prohibiting employers to require their employees to bring their ballots into work, AB 17 will ensure that voters cast their ballots free from interference and will reduce fears of workplace retaliation.
AB 299 will ensure that election information is up-to-date by requiring county election officials to update the Secretary of State with the most recent vote by mail information. The Secretary of State’s elections website informs the public when their vote by mail ballot was received. This website also uses information to continuously update vote counts during an election. Often times, this information is not updated in a timely manner. During the 2016 election cycle, some voter information between county and state websites was not consistent. Voters called election officials confused about whether their ballots were counted and whether they needed to take action. This situation undermined trust in the integrity of our electoral process. AB 299 will make certain that county offices and the Secretary of State are communicating to provide greater transparency and accuracy around our elections.
Both measures will become law on January 1, 2020.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.