When Americans go to the polls, they have to believe that their vote counts and that all votes will be counted honestly and appropriately for fair and free elections to take place. However, when the established rules are not followed and the system is abused, anyone involved in such actions can be charged with voter fraud. In California, voter fraud is a crime, just as it is in every state across the nation. There are four categories in which acts of California voter fraud can fall within the scope of the law. These are the four violation categories:
- Voter registration
- Petition initiative
- Election day and voting
- Nomination and election campaign
California Voter Fraud Violations Explained
Below details a breakdown of California voter fraud violations.
- Voter Registration Fraud – When ineligible voters are registered to vote, that will fall under voter registration fraud. Examples of ineligible parties would be animals, deceased persons, fictitious people, or anyone under the law who does not have the right to vote. If you are charged with California voter registration fraud, how you are charged will be based on the details of your crimes. As a wobbler crime, a prosecutor can decide to charge you with either a felony or misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges come with as much as a year to be served in county jail while felonies can come with up to three years of jail time. Fines may also be assessed.
- Election-day Fraud – When there is an exchange of money for votes, aggression or threats for votes, voting multiple times in the same election, voting when you are not lawfully allowed to vote, falsely taking on another person’s identity to vote these acts are considered election-day fraud. These actions will result in California felony charges and the punishment can be jail time up to three years and fines as high as $10,000.
Being arrested and charged with voter fraud violations in California is serious and there are many consequences for such actions. Other illegal acts related to the voting system include:
- Trying to intimidate or influence a vote within 100 feet from the polling location
- Having a gun at a polling place
- Meddling with a voting machine
- Fraudulently voting with mail-in ballots