A ballot measure in Huntington Beach would require voters to present an ID when voting in municipal elections. The measure would also require increased ballot drop box monitoring.

The measure is a charter amendment that was approved by the Huntington Beach City Council and will be on the March ballot.

Supporters of the measure claim it’s a way to help secure the election process. Opponents, like Secretary of State Shirley Weber and Attorney General Rob Bonta, argue it violates the state’s election laws and undermines the political process.

Webber and Bonta sent a joint letter to the City Council stating the ballot measure conflicts with state law and threatened legal intervention if the measures are implemented. 

Huntington Beach Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark, a strong supporter for the election measures, joined “Inside the Issues” host Amrit Singh to talk about why they are needed in the city and potential challenges ahead.

“If asking for an ID makes people feel more secure and brings back their faith for our voting system, then why not?” Van Der Mark said.

Opponents of the measures say implementing voter identification laws suppresses the most vulnerable communities from being able to vote. Although Van Der Mark, the first Latina mayor of Huntington Beach, takes exception with this argument.

“I grew up in a very low-income, Latino community and we all had IDs,” Van Der Mark said. “This feels like, to me, when they make comments like that, that we are too ignorant to get an ID. We were poor; we weren’t ignorant.”

For the video monitoring of ballot drop boxes, California law allows county election officials to oversee the regulation monitoring of drop boxes, not city officials. In their letter, both Weber and Bonta highlighted this measure could violate state law depending on implementation.

“Everything we do in our country, in our city, depends on who we put into office, so why not monitor it?” Van Der Mark noted.

Looking at the costs associated with the potential legal challenges that could come if this charter amendment is implemented, Van Der Mark highlights how Huntington Beach has an elected city attorney who would handle any challenges brought by the state.

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