It’s been a busy January and a great start to 2019. I kicked off the year by taking the oath of office for my second term as Secretary of State and got right back to work on key initiatives to further strengthen our democracy. As always, I want to keep you updated on what our team is working on.
I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR…
Thank you for your ongoing support and for believing in my leadership to protect the integrity of our elections, strengthen our democracy, and build California into the model for other states to follow. In my second term, I pledge to continue to work to make our elections more secure and accessible, make it easier for entrepreneurs to invest in and do business in California, to shine more light on money in state politics, to make our state archives more accessible for all Californians, and to make sure every Californian is counted in the 2020 Census.
You can watch my remarks from my Swearing-In here.
FREE THE VOTE
Photo courtesy of AP
Earlier this week, I joined with legislators from across the state to announce our support of the Free the Vote Act. Officially known as ACA 6 and authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), this measure would restore voting rights to former inmates who are on parol. While parolees are transitioning back into the community, California invests in them through assistance with education, housing, job training, and healthcare. It is only logical to also engage former inmates in our democracy. Research shows that in jurisdictions where former inmates can easily regain the right to vote, they reoffend at lower rates. So this measure makes sense from both a voting rights and a public safety perspective.
But before the measure can appear on the ballot, it must be approved by the legislature. Read more about the Free the Vote Act here.
CONGRESS HEARS HOUSE RESOLUTION 1
The first priority for the U. S. House of Representatives in the new Congress is House Resolution 1, or H.R. 1, a legislative package that seeks to restore and protect rights, modernize elections, and end partisan gerrymandering, among other reforms. I see it as an opportunity to extend the reforms we have successfully championed in California to voters across the country.
As we expected, Republican opposition in the bill’s first hearing was fierce, but their opposition comes as no surprise — voter suppression has become a critical element of the Republican electoral strategy.
Republican opposition may be strong, but our resolve is stronger. Rest assured that I will engage in support of these voting rights and election security reforms. And I will keep you posted on the progress of the bill. Keep an eye out for our emails and our social media posts for news and updates.
You can read more about the H.R. 1 here, and read more about how California has already taken some of these steps on a state level here.
2020 CENSUS UPDATE
In a win for democracy, last week a federal judge struck down the Trump administration’s proposal to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. While not the final word (there are other related lawsuits pending and the Supreme Court is expected to weigh in) last week’s ruling was compelling and encouraging.
Questioning the citizenship of every person in American is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt by the Trump administration to discourage or intimidate diverse communities — like the many in California — from participating in the census. At stake are billions of dollars in federal funding for the next decade and, more fundamentally, our representation in Congress and our voting rights. Accurate census data drives the reapportionment process and is vital to the redistricting process, so we must do everything we can to protect the integrity of the census. A citizenship question would only undermine the very purpose of the census.
As with H.R. 1, stay tuned to our email and social media posts for news and updates on this important issue.
Thank you again for taking a moment to catch up with me. I’m honored and excited to continue to serve as Secretary of State. Together, let’s continue to fight for our democracy.
For California and for our country,
California Secretary of State