Well, here's our chance to do something about voter intimidation in California. My Assembly Member, Jose Solorio (D- Santa Ana), is actually teaming up with Republican Van Tran (R-Garden Grove) to offer some real solutions here. Follow me after the flip to find out more.
Here's what Solorio's office has to say about this:
Assemblymen Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) and Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Garden Grove) have introduced a package of two bills that seek to prevent voter intimidation, such as the case witnessed in Orange County in 2006.
“I am proud to partner with Assemblyman Van Tran to help discourage future voter intimidation cases from occurring in Orange County or elsewhere in the state. Our bills will ensure that candidates are aware of the state’s voter intimidation laws and deter future offenses by stiffening the penalties for voter intimidation,” said Assemblyman Solorio.
“Freedom to vote is one of the most important rights Americans’ have. Our laws must protect every citizen’s right to vote and allow us to vigorously prosecute anybody who tries to intimidate voters,” said Assemblyman Van Tran.
AB 122 (Solorio) requires election officials to give potential candidates for elected office a copy of the provisions of law that prohibit voter intimidation and the penalties for violating those provisions of law.
AB 46 (Tran) would increase penalties for an individual convicted of committing voter intimidation by making it a felony, punishable by a minimum of 16 months or up to three years in prison.
Both bills have passed the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting with bipartisan support. AB 122 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week and AB 46 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee tomorrow.
The bills were introduced in response to an October 2006 letter that was mailed out by the campaign of a U.S. Congressional candidate to some 14,000 Latino voters in Orange County in an attempt deter them from voting in the November election. In fact, Assemblyman Solorio received one of those letters himself.
The letter incorrectly stated “you are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or your are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so.” This statement is extremely misleading at best because immigrants can vote if they become citizens. In response to this voter intimidation effort, the Secretary of State’s office sent letters to these 14,000 Latino voters who received a letter reassuring these voters of their right to vote.
Isn't it about time that we pass something like AB 122? Isn't it about timke that we protect people's right to vote from such horrid and nasty scare tactics? Isn't it about time that we pass something like AB 46? Isn't it about time that we prosecute these folks who try to scare voters away from voting?
If you care about our right to vote, it might be a good idea to call your Assembly Member and ask him or her to support these bills. Our right to vote is just too precious to lose. Or be scared away from.