I’m Voting 25 Times. And You Should Too!

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)

In his latest false attack on California, President Trump suggests he’d win California because we Californians all vote three times every election.

If only voting here were that easy.

I’m voting 25 times in the fall election. And that’s perfectly legal because I live in Los Angeles County. On just one ballot, I face 24 different contests, and can vote 25 times. A local school board race, which is at large, asks me to vote for two candidates.

I also can vote for president, state senator, state assembly, Congress, district attorney, three judges, and one member of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District board of directors, as well on 12 different statewide ballot measures, one county measure, and one local measure (a utility tax extension).

President Trump’s lying is unstoppable. But the rest of us should stop repeating the untruth that multiple votes represent fraud. In fact, multiple voting is a good sign that you live in a modern democracy with different levels of government and the possibility of direct legislation.

And we’d be better off if we had more power for multiple votes. For one thing, I should be able to cast a second ballot, replacing my first ballot, if I change my mind before Election Day, as you can do in some other countries. I’d also love to be able to vote for multiple members of the legislature to represent my region, or multiple members of a city council to represent my city—both of which would be possible if California were to expand its numbers of lawmakers and adopt proportional representation.

For now, it’s worth saying to the president and other purveyors of misinformation. I will vote as many times as I want to. I do so proudly, and I do so legally. Because I’m a Californian.  

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