After Settlement With Judicial Watch, Los Angeles County Still Mailing Ballots to Dead People

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
AP featured image
California Gov. Gavin Newsom listens to a question during an interview in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Newsom said President Donald Trump should be removed from office by Congress, but with Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate the best way to boot Trump from office is at the ballot box. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


Ballots have just started arriving in mailboxes in California, and it’s already clear that the practice of mailing every registered voter a ballot is going to be a complete s**tshow in the state.

Former Acting National Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell, a California resident, tweeted a photo Friday of two ballots mailed to people who have been dead for more than 10 years and called for an investigation into Gov. Gavin Newsom’s election interference. Newsom issued an executive order mandating that every registered voter in California receive a ballot in the mail, even though a 2017 study found that 101 percent of the state’s residents of voting age were registered to vote. Clearly, the state’s voter rolls are bloated and inaccurate.

Noting that the address on the ballots in Grenell’s tweet in Redondo Beach, which is part of Los Angeles County, attorney Harmeet Dhillon quickly pointed out that Los Angeles County had been sued by and entered into a settlement with Judicial Watch over its inaccurate voter rolls, in which the county pledged to purge more than a million “inactive” voters from their rolls. Since these two deceased people received ballots, does that mean that the county didn’t follow through on its agreement?


Dhillon’s tweet ends with, “What happened?” The Election Integrity Project California (EIP-CA), which was also part of the Judicial Watch lawsuit, chimed in with more details on these two particular voters, John and Gertrude Thompson, and with a great question:

This is stunning. The California Secretary of State was informed on April 28th of this year by EIP-CA (a non-partisan organization) that there were 458,000 registered voters who were likely dead or had moved and asked that they not be mailed ballots. EIP-CA specifically told CA SOS that this couple were both deceased and provided the dates, yet the Secretary of State refused to investigate?

In addition to dead people, non-citizens are receiving ballots, according to one reply to Grenell’s tweet. A resident of Ted Lieu’s Los Angeles County district shared a posting from NextDoor in which a resident said she got a ballot for her former au pair who hasn’t lived with them for two years and who also is not a citizen. How did she even get registered? We are assured that illegal aliens aren’t being registered to vote.


The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk replied:

Well, both federal and California Election Law requires that the voter rolls be purged regularly and clearly that is not happening – even in response to legal action – so why would we trust L.A. County’s signature verification process?

A Congressional candidate who currently works as a property manager (with one communal mailbox) in Los Angeles County said they’d received five ballots for people who don’t live there anymore.


Los Angeles County was sued in 2017 by Judicial Watch Watch, EIP-CA, and a number of registered voters in Los Angeles County over the abysmal status of the county’s voter rolls. In the course of legal proceedings, Judicial Watch found that California, not just Los Angeles County, “had treated the removal of inactive voters as permissive, not mandatory, and had not cleaned its voter registration rolls in at least 20 years.” A 2018 Supreme Court case affirming a Judicial Watch settlement with Ohio ruled that removing inactive voters was mandatory under the National Voting Rights Act.

The settlement agreement signed in January 2019:

“[R]equires all of the 1.5 million potentially ineligible registrants to be notified and asked to respond. If there is no response, those names are to be removed as required by the NVRA. California Secretary of State Padilla also agrees to update the State’s online NVRA manual to make clear that ineligible names must be removed and to notify each California county that they are obligated to do this. This should lead to cleaner voter rolls statewide.”

In April 2019 Padilla informed Judicial Watch that the State’s online NVRA manual had been updated and that he’d informed each county about their obligation to remove ineligible names, and in June 2019, Los Angeles County informed Judicial Watch that they’d sent out notices to the 1.5 million potentially ineligible registrants.


Under the NVRA, the period of time registrants have to respond in some way includes the next two federal elections, so that time period hasn’t yet passed. However, as EIP-CA pointed out, why doesn’t California have procedures in place to check if someone has registered to vote in another state or to check the voter rolls against the Social Security Death Index? If someone moves to California and gets a driver’s license, they have to show their old license, and their old state is informed of the move. It would seem that a question on the voter registration form asking if the person is currently registered to vote in another state (or in another county) would be proper. By implementing such automatic list cleaning measures, the voter rolls would be much more accurate.

And that’s probably why Padilla’s making no move to implement those procedures.


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