Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council endorses state bill to develop publicly-owned voting systems

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The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to endorse a state bill that would allow cities and counties to develop their own voting systems. Supporters say moving away from privately-owned systems would create more transparency.

A state bill that would allow California counties to develop their own voting systems was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council. 

SB 360 was introduced by State Sen. Alex Padilla to allow for publicly developed and owned voting systems. 

Los Angeles County is in the process of creating its own voting system and its use "would increase transparency in elections," according to a report from the chief legislative analyst. The city of Los Angeles routinely uses the county's equipment for elections. According to the CLA's report, SB 360 would give the city more flexibility in its elections. 

"This would be a step in the right direction to increase voter engagement, input and hopefully turnout," said Councilwoman Jan Perry. "No new voting systems have been approved in California since 2007. County voting systems in our state are aging rapidly and the process for approving voting systems is doing little to approve new, innovative systems."

Councilman Paul Krekorian noted that most voting systems are owned by private companies, making it difficult for election officials to understand their functionality.

"To have local certification at the county level gives us the opportunity to create the kind of transparency and competition that will allow greater confidence in the results of our voting systems," Krekorian said. 

Padilla's bill has been approved by the Senate and is now awaiting action in the Assembly.

Just a week ago, the state senate approved a separate bill, also from Padilla, that would require the Secretary of State to maintain a voter registration database that allows Californians to check their registration status, absentee ballots and provisional ballots. 

Padilla has announced his intention to run for Secretary of State. 

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