Will California become the seventh state in the nation to permit people to register to vote on Election Day?
Proposition 52, on the state ballot November 5, would do just that. If it passes, it could open the door to wide-scale voter fraud, in which Californias massive illegal alien population determines the outcome of both local and national elections.
According to the Center for Immigrations Studies, 2 to 3 million illegal aliens currently live in California. In the 2000 presidential election, the nationwide popular vote spread was only 543,895. California, one of Gores stronger states, gave the Democrat a margin of only 1.3 million-less than the number of illegal aliens in the state.
California Republican Chairman Shawn Steel warned at the recent state GOP convention in Garden Grove that "same-day registration could lead to fraud on a massive level, millions of people voting who should not be, and stolen elections."
Prop 52 is the creation of San Francisco philanthropist Rob McKay, head of a foundation that helps bankroll the countercultural Mother Jones magazine. Upset that California has ranked among the bottom six of the 50 states in voter turnout in the last two presidential elections, McKay has spent $4.5 million to bankroll the movement for Prop 52. (Jerry Perenichio, head of the Spanish-language Univision television network, has also donated $25,000 to support Prop 52.)
As of now, eligible Californians must register at least 15 days before an election to be able to vote.
Although large voter turnout would seem to be a noble goal, opponents say that the potential for massive fraud is too high a price to pay for more participation.
"I dont want people writing about California what they were writing about Florida," Republican Secretary of State Bill Jones told the Los Angeles Times, warning that flooding the polling places on Election Day with unregistered voters would put too much pressure on already stressed poll workers.
In addition, Californias experience with questionable voters in recent elections has led many to question the wisdom of Prop 52. In 1996, for example, when then-Rep. Robert Dornan (R.) was defeated by Democratic challenger Loretta Sanchez, he charged that her 984-vote margin was delivered by 1,789 voters who had registered and voted illegally.
California election law does not require voters to show identification when they show up at the polls.
Current law, however, does require people to provide a California drivers license or state identification card when they register to vote. The 15-day waiting period presumably gives election officials time to check the validity of these documents.
Should 52 pass, there will be no way to check the legitimate status of voters seeking to register and vote on the same day. In addition, people could cast votes without identification if they obtained sworn written statements from people who vouched for them in the presence of poll workers.
Fear of polling places overloaded with fraudulent voters has swelled the ranks of opponents to "52." After telling me in San Francisco earlier this year that he had no position on the measure, Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon has recently joined Steel and the state GOP in urging a "No" vote. In addition, the California State Association of Counties and even the West Hollywood Democratic Club have come out against the measure.
Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, initially thought to be sympathetic to "52," is neutral. Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, whom Simon defeated for the Republican gubernatorial nod, favors the proposition.
Chris Wysocki, a strategist for the "No" forces, told me why some Democrats are turning against it. "In Minnesota, where you have had same-day registration for 30 years, you have some of the biggest turnouts anywhere-a national high of 69% in 2000," he said. "Theyre afraid of another Jesse Ventura getting elected in California."