The ACLU Sues California Over Vote by Mail Ballots

The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Northern California chapter has filed suit against California over ballots. The ballots in question are from the November 2016 elections. The 45,000 ballots were discarded because the signatures on them did not match those of the voter according to the report.
The organization announced the lawsuit through the social media platform Twitter at the end of last week.
The ACLU maintains that none of the 45,000 votes have been notified or were given an opportunity to correct the problem. The main issue with the setting aside of the ballots is that there are no regulations around it. Officials in charge of voting can reject a ballot at any time. In the case of these signatures, the ballots were not even subject to any sort of certification process prior to being thrown out.
Consequently, the suit filed by the ACLU asks that voters be given an opportunity to correct any issues. They are emphasizing the importance of this being resolved before the next major United States election in 2018.

The lawsuit is known as La Follette v. Padilla. The case also highlights the problem of penmanship as it relates to ballots in California. Officials may be able to disqualify a ballot for any reason. But voters are not mandated to sign their ballots in a specific way. Denying a person’s right to vote based on this is wrong according to Michael Richer, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California.

“One disenfranchised voter would be too many, and we’re seeing tens of thousands of wrongly rejected ballots every election cycle in California alone.”

It is also worth noting that a significant number of the ballots in this matter belonged to those of Latino and Asian origin. .A new law that is slated to go into effect in the state will also see some counties automatically register residents to vote by mail. Given the issues that have come to light surrounding the 2016 election, voting by mail is likely to increase for this reason too. An estimated 60% of ballots were vote by mail in 2016.</p>
The ACLU says that it is important for the State to address this issue because it is unconstitutional. Furthermore, thousands more Californians stand to be impacted by this type of disenfranchisement if it is not addressed now. The right to vote is a cornerstone of American Democracy as is the assurance that every vote is counted.