Legislative Update: CVF Urges Governor Brown to Veto AB 840

Bill would weaken California's election verification law if enacted

October 10, 2017

In the final weeks of this year's legislative session, last-minute amendments were made to Assembly Bill 840, authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) which would weaken California's post-election verification law.

Known as the manual tally, this 52-year old law is designed to give voters the ability to verify the accuracy of automated vote counts. Counties are required to select one percent of their precincts at random and recount the ballots in those precincts in public, by hand, and verify that the hand-counted totals match the software-counted totals.

The amendment made to AB 840 on August 24th would redefine the manual tally to include a public count of only the ballots included in the semi-official canvass, which is typically comprised of vote-by-mail ballots received before Election Day and polling place ballots. Vote-by-mail ballots returned on and after Election Day and provisional ballots would generally be excluded from the manual tally if AB 840 becomes law.

This change would in effect reduce by about one-third the total number of ballots required to be counted in the manual tally; excluding many vote-by-mail and all provisional ballots from potential audit would also signal to would-be attackers to target such ballots, knowing they likely will not be checked.

To learn more about why the California Voter Foundation opposes AB 840, see:

To contact Governor Brown about this or any other pending bills, visit his contact page. The Governor has until October 15 to take action on bills from this legislative year.