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Proposed California legislation could penalize voters for not casting a ballot

Posted at 6:36 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 23:24:22-05

California's primary is less than a month away.

If you were not planning to vote, lawmakers hope a proposed measure will have you rethinking that decision.

In 2016, San Luis Obispo County had a 61% voter turnout. That means 39% of eligible voters didn't cast a ballot.

Now, a proposed California Assembly Bill would penalize registered voters who do not vote.

It's an idea voters are split on.

"I'm not sure about the penalty or what that would mean, but definitely people should vote. I mean, that's what we need to do every single election and this one's particularly important,” said Katherine Anderson, Paso Robles resident.

"It's kind of a good thought but the penalizing I feel like would actually deter people from the idea. It's more of like a being forced than like wanting to out of your own accord,” said Carolyn Harmon, Arroyo Grande resident.

Assembly Bill 2070 doesn't state what the penalty would be. If it were to pass, the Secretary of State would make that decision.

While the bill aims to get more people to the polls, San Luis Obispo County is already accepting ballots, counting votes, and confirming signatures in what's shaping up to be an even larger voter turnout for this election.

"We have 20,000 more voters than we had four years ago. We had 155,000 during that election and now we're up to 175,000,” said Tommy Gong, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder.