Our View: We must keep the integrity of our elections and vote
October 12, 2018
The problems with California's voter registration system would be laughable if they weren't so serious.
A series of state Department of Motor Vehicle errors resulted in problems with 23,000 voter registrations, which were revealed last month. Earlier this week the DMV announced that some 1,500 people were wrongly registered to vote.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla has called for an audit of the DMV and is considering a temporary halt of the Motor Voter program.
On its surface the Motor Voter program — which registers people to vote when they conduct a license, ID or address change at the DMV — is a good thing. We all should want as many people as possible who can legally cast ballots registered to vote. A robust electorate, hopefully, leads to healthy government.
Of course, achieving that robust electorate is contingent on a working voter registration system that isn't riddled with problems.
Some Californians may support the concept of people living here illegally having the right to vote. We don't. And neither do we support the continuance of a voter registration system that's obviously flawed.
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Padilla should pause the Motor Voter program and ensure it's viable before allowing it to operate.
These errors are serious and deserve our attention. However, it's not the only news that should dominate headlines over the next few weeks.
We live in a state with millions of legal voters who, election after election, fail to cast a ballot. Just look at the last presidential election. Some 24.8 million Californians were eligible to vote. About 19.4 million people were registered, and 14.6 million actually cast ballots.
We're not going to argue the tired trope of "this election is the most important one of your life." You can make that decision yourself. What we're arguing is that every election is important, and everyone who can legally vote should.
Voting is a right. It's also a responsibility. Each citizen has the burden of educating him or herself about the candidates and issues. Each person also is burdened with ensuring their voter registration is accurate and that they are, in fact, registered.
Check your registration status here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov. If there's a problem, contact the Nevada County elections office at 530-265-1298.
Remember, you can now register to vote on election day. Additionally, every registered Nevada County voter should receive a ballot in the mail.
There is no reason why you can't vote in the November general election.
California voters will elect a new governor, along with a host of other statewide offices. We'll also select a U.S. senator and all the state's U.S. representatives.
Locally we'll pick a new sheriff, decide on two seats of the Nevada Irrigation District Board of Directors and choose if the unincorporated county can institute a cannabis businesses tax.
And don't forget the plethora of special district seats up for grabs.
So, yes, we'd say this election is important.
We must ensure the integrity of our elections. Allegations of election wrongdoing will always exist, even here in Nevada County.
We must correct faults in our system and stand guard for future malfeasance, whether foreign or domestic.
But we must also vote in every election after having educated ourselves. One great resource is the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County. You can learn about the candidates and ballot measures, and watch videos of candidate forums. Learn more here: https://my.lwv.org/california/western-nevada-county.
We are fortunate and privileged to live in a country where we get a voice in our government. Don't let this right pass you by.
It's no laughing matter.
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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