California lawmakers advance bill allowing election workers to hide addresses
California’s legislature advanced a bill on Monday that would protect election workers in the state by keeping their home addresses and other private information hidden from the public.
The California Senate Elections Committee unanimously advanced the bill, which seeks to protect election and poll workers via a system similar to the state’s Safe at Home program protecting victims of domestic violence and abuse.
Lawmakers introduced the bill in February in response to increased threats and harassment of election workers in the wake of the 2020 election, which saw supporters of former President Trump accuse poll workers of bias in relation to unfounded claims of fraud.
State Sen. Josh Newman (D), the sponsor of the bill, said the measure and another bill increasing oversight of digital political advertisements “will provide assurance to Californians that they can continue to count on the highest standards of political accountability and electoral integrity.”
“The transparency of our electoral process and the security of election workers are paramount to maintaining our democracy,” Newman said in a statement after the passage of both bills.
A new survey released this month from the Brennan Center for Justice showed 1 in 5 election workers are likely to quit their jobs before the next presidential election in 2024 because of increased threats and harassment.
The Justice Department created a task force last year led by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to combat increased threats to election workers, calling it a “threat to our democracy.”
The department brought charges against a Texas man last month for making election-related threats to government workers. He allegedly offered a $10,000 bounty for anyone who killed “treasonous traitors” in the state government.
In California, names, photographs and home addresses of election workers are posted online, while officials are also required to post a list of their names and party affiliation.
The bill would eliminate the requirement to post their names and create a program to allow election workers to submit applications to keep their addresses and private information hidden.
Kim Alexander, the president and founder of the California Voter Foundation, which helped push the bill, said the measure was necessary because “election officials and their staff are democracy’s front line workers.”
“Conducting secure elections now requires safeguarding election workers’ physical safety. This legislation will help protect California’s election workers from threats and harassment and provide an additional layer of election security,” Alexander said in a statement.
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