The California Senate Elections Committee passed a pair of bills, authored by Senator Josh Newman, to uphold the rectitude of elections. Both bills, SB 921 and SB 1131, seek to buttress the pillar of American democracy.
“From the first day of campaigning to the counting of the last ballot, the transparency of our electoral process and the security of election workers are paramount to maintaining our democracy,” said Senator Newman. “By adapting to rapid changes in campaign technology and responding to increasing concerns about election security, this pair of bills will provide assurance to Californians that they can continue to count on the highest standards of political accountability and electoral integrity.”
As recommended by the Fair Political Practice Commission’s (FPPC) Task Force on Digital Transparency, SB 921 will provide improved access to and legal oversight of digital political advertisements. This bill will create an online archive of every digital political ad employed by a political campaign or committee and will provide voters and stakeholders more information about campaign activity, including the messaging used by committees, their funding sources and the amounts paid to the platforms or persons.
To offset increasing harassment and violent threats directed at election workers, SB 1131 will allow those workers to enroll in either of the state’s address protection programs – the Secretary of State’s Safe at Home program or the state’s address confidentiality program for public officials.
Safe at Home, designed to protect survivors of domestic violence and employees who work at reproductive healthcare facilities, redirects the mail of people enrolled in the program. Alternatively, election workers may enroll in a program that allows state and local agencies to respond to public records requests without disclosing the address of an election worker.
SB 921 and SB 1131 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee in April.