Michael Rubio to introduce bill to protect will of voters

SACRAMENTO, Calif (AP) -  

Senator Michael J. Rubio is preparing a bill that would change the law to allow petition circulators to complete the address portion of circulated petitions so as to fully protect the will and democratic rights of voters.
 
Senator Rubio's proposed legislation will affirm that, since a voter's signature is what is needed for verification purposes, an alternate means of completing the residence section of individual signatories may be implemented.  
 
A similar process is already followed for California voter registration forms where someone may assist a person to complete the form so long as the newly registered voter signs their name and a person assisting notes on the form that they helped complete it.
 
Recently, community residents in Bakersfield submitted 2,129 signatures to local elections officials to force a special election for the vacant Bakersfield City Council Ward 1 seat.  Upon reviewing the signatures, the Kern County Elections Department determined that only 577 of the signatures submitted were valid.  1,145 signatures from Ward 1 residents-54% of the total submitted-had been invalidated because the voter did not complete the residence portion of the petition form.
 
"The will of the voters in Bakersfield's Ward 1 is loud and clear.  They want the City Council to order a special election, instead of appointing an interim councilmember," Rubio said.  
 
"Invalidating over 1,000 signatures on a technicality is simply wrong.  To make sure that this does not happen again and so that a technicality does not trump the voice of our constituents, I am set to introduce this important bill later this month to fix this problem."
 
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