Asm. Low Introduces County Election Reforms Following Santa Clara Audit

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), introduced legislation today to implement some of the reforms recommended by the California State Auditor in her October audit of the Santa Clara County Elections Office. The audit found that the county had made errors in its election materials and failed to consistently and effectively notify voters when the errors had been made. The recommendations implemented in Assembly Bill 2352 are intended to reduce administrative errors and enhance the Secretary of State’s oversight of county elections offices.

“All voters deserve access to free and fair elections,” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “While the errors uncovered in the Santa Clara County audit did not influence the outcome of an election, they may have undermined voter confidence in the electoral process. AB 2352 will prevent similar mistakes from being made in local elections across the state.”

Last year, Assemblymember Low requested an audit of the Santa Clara County Elections Office following a series of administrative errors over the last few election cycles. The audit found that inadequate policies and procedures had led to errors in election materials, and that the county failed to notify voters consistently and effectively when mistakes were made. As such, the report included several recommendations for the Santa Clara County Elections Office to reduce errors, and the Secretary of State to enhance oversight over county elections offices.

AB 2352 would require the Secretary of State to establish regulations to determine which election administration errors are “reportable,” and require those errors to be submitted to the Secretary of State for review and guidance. The bill would also require a local jurisdiction, when requesting the county elections official to conduct an election on their behalf, to provide district boundaries to the county in a format specified by the county.