Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018 Approved by Assembly

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, May 31, 2017) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) today won the full Assembly’s approval of the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018 on a bipartisan 54-18 vote.

“The right to vote is our most important right. But local election officials have to rely on equipment that is rapidly becoming outdated or obsolete. County election officials, especially in smaller and rural counties, need help in upgrading their voting systems and implementing best practices like expanded early voting and vote centers,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said. “This is a modest investment in the health of our democracy.” 

The bond, known as Assembly Bill 668, calls for $450 million in bonds to be issued to pay for upgrading voting systems in California’s 58 counties. Additionally, AB 668 will also fund critical innovations to improve voting access for Californians like early voting options, same-day voter registration, vote centers, language access, disability access and cyber security. Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who oversees elections in California, is the chief sponsor of AB 668. 

The last major investment in California elections systems came through the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 and Proposition 41, the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2002, providing more than $450 million in funding for upgrading and replacing election systems. These funds were provided to counties as a reimbursement on a 3-to-1 matching basis, requiring counties to directly pay for 25 percent of their new voting systems. 

In September 2015, New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice issued a report that raised concerns including the failure of equipment to work as intended and the difficulty of finding replacement parts for machines that are no longer manufactured. Additionally, in a report published in March, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) recommends that the Legislature consider one-time funding to replace aging voting systems.

For more information on the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018, or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher, contact John Vigna at (916) 319-2080 or (916) 212-0357.