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Opinion

Opinion: The freedom to decide who gets to turn in your absentee ballot

NORWALK, CALIFORNIA NOVEMBER 5, 2014-A worker counts mail-in and absentee ballots at the L.A. County
A worker counts mail-in and absentee ballots at the L.A. County Registrar Recorder’s Office in Norwalk on Nov. 5, 2014.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I don’t think a single election goes by without someone crying foul on canvassers. Usually it’s from the side that is losing or doesn’t have as many volunteers. The complaint that led to The Times editorial critical of Assembly Bill 1921 is no different. (“Don’t allow voter coercion and corruption to take hold in California,” editorial, Nov. 15)

I authored the bill allowing a voter to let anyone turn in his or her ballot, similar to laws that have worked well in other states. I have seen firsthand how the elderly and disabled were disenfranchised by the previous California election rules.

Earlier in my career, when I was a campaign volunteer, I would go door to door on election day and, without fail, would find someone who had their absentee ballot filled out but couldn’t make it to a polling place. As a result, they couldn’t cast a vote. By empowering voters to decide who can turn in their ballot, we break down another barrier to voting.

Although I plan to introduce legislation to designate the amount of time someone can hold onto a voter’s ballot, the law is already clear that ballots must be turned in by election day.

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Remember: If a canvasser pressures you, you always have the right to close the door.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego)

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