A leftover from earlier in the week that I wanted to make sure didn't get buried amid fast-moving news cycles: The state of California is being forced to purge up to one-and-a-half million voters from its statewide rolls, following a legal settlement that arose from a Judicial Watch lawsuit. This development follows similar outcomes in Kentucky and Ohio, also spurred by the conservative watchdog group's legal actions. The Washington Free Beacon has details:
Judicial Watch sued the county and state voter-registration agencies, arguing that the California government was not complying with a federal law requiring the removal of inactive registrations that remain after two general elections, or two to four years. Inactive voter registrations, for the most part, occur when voters move to another country or state or pass away but remain on the rolls. The lawsuit alleged that Los Angeles County, with its more than 10 million residents, has more voter registrations than it has citizens old enough to register with a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. The entire state of California had a registration rate of 101 percent of age-eligible citizens, the lawsuit said, citing data published by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
And via the Sacramento Bee, the state is now actively investigating whether non-citizens participated in recent California elections after they were improperly registered to vote through a Department of Motor Vehicles error (a cynic might put the word "error" in scare quotes):
California officials still can’t say whether non-citizens voted in the June 2018 primary because a confusing government questionnaire about eligibility was created in a way that prevents a direct answer on citizenship. The snag comes from a voter eligibility questionnaire that lumps five separate characteristics, such as age and citizenship status, into one prompt that people see at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they try to get or renew a driver’s license. Investigators can see that people marked themselves as ineligible to vote or declined to answer eligibility questions, but they can’t tell why...[an email] shows that, for months, California officials have been examining whether non-citizens voted last year. On Thursday, Secretary of State Alex Padilla confirmed for the first time that his office has an active internal investigation into the matter.
I'm amplifying this story for two reasons. First, when voter rolls are purged around the country, activists on the Left often allege "voter suppression," fueling dark, racially-tinged theories about disenfranchisement. See, for instance, the hyperbole and hysteria in Georgia this past cycle, which disregarded several relevant facts. While excessive or overly aggressive purges should be guarded against, removing inactive, ineligible or dead voters from the rolls is wholly appropriate and required by law. It is not nefarious "suppression." Just as leftists are in a small minority on the issue of voter ID laws, I expect they'll also struggle to convince Americans that it's no big deal that the country's largest state (a) takes days or weeks to count ballots, and (b) is home to more registered voters than voting-eligible citizens. It's also disturbing that a supposedly confusing government questionnaire -- no doubt worded to protect illegal immigrants, in alignment with the deeply problematic 'sanctuary state' ethos -- resulted in non-citizens being signed up as voters, and that said government still isn't sure how many of them exercised that improper 'right.' It's happened before. How is any of this acceptable?
Second, regular readers know that I have problems with both parties' preferred narratives on voter fraud. Republicans tend to overstate the scope of in-person fraud (certain assertions are particularly ridiculous), while Democrats wrongly cast concerns about various forms of fraud as wicked right-wing suppression schemes, rooted in baseless fever dreams. They're not. The truth is that fraud does exist and reasonable steps must be taken to prevent it. Experts seem to agree that the area that's most vulnerable to fraud is absentee or mail-in ballot fraud, as we've recently seen in North Carolina. The quasi-loophole in the system that was apparently exploited in NC-09's contested House race remains completely legal in a number of states, including...California. What are the chances Democrat-dominated Sacramento will volunteer to clean up its act, so long as the existing system isn't interfering with, or is in fact helping to perpetuate, one-party rule? Slim. They'll need to be dragged into it, kicking and screaming. On that front, score one for Judicial Watch. I'll leave you with them taking a victory lap on Twitter: