California Is About to Get Hammered Nationally Because It Cherishes The Right to Vote

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Being for voting rights in a country so dedicated to voter suppression is hard.

And it’s about to get harder.

California may find that out sooner. Our state’s desire to register as many voters as possible and to get as many people to vote as possible may soon be a target of nationwide criticism and ridicule.

That’s because it will take weeks – into December – to count all the votes from November’s election. That reflects the sheer size of the state and the number of votes—and the fact that we let people return mail ballots on election day, and accept them for three days after.

If the contest for the House of Representatives is close, and control hinges on a few close races in California, watch for anti-California rhetoric and not just for Trump, who lies about California about as often as he breathes. You’ll see Democrats and comics making a point of it. And Republicans, who are now firmly committed to a national policy of voter suppression, will use the opportunity to attack motor voter and our other attempts to make it easier to register and vote.

Californians shouldn’t join the criticism. We should push back and counter-attack. We should say: “Our state is a place that, when it makes a mistake, does so in the service of making sure people can exercise the right to vote. Your country, unfortunately, systematically works to discourage or bar citizens from voting.”

“And your president is trying to strip American children of immigrants of their citizenship and their right to vote.

Shout it, California! We are committed to the right of the vote. And America is not.

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