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A ballot box in LA County (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

Penal Provisions of the Elections Code, Voter Registration and Candidate Nominations

Violation of these codes: punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years

By Chris Micheli, February 4, 2022 3:15 pm

There are penal, or criminal, provisions of California’s Elections Code. These laws are provided in Division 18. Chapter 1 contains General Provisions. Section 18000 states that Division 18 applies to all elections. Section 18001 provides that, upon a conviction for any crime punishable by imprisonment in any jail or prison, the court may impose a fine on the offender not exceeding $1,000 in cases of misdemeanors or up to $25,000 in cases of felonies, in addition to the imprisonment prescribed.

Section 18002 specifies that every person charged with the performance of any duty under any law of this state relating to elections, who willfully neglects or refuses to perform it, or who, in his or her official capacity, knowingly and fraudulently acts in contravention or violation of any of those laws, is punishable by fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years, or by both.

Chapter 2 deals with Voter Registration. Section 18100 provides that every person who willfully causes, procures, or allows himself or herself or any other person to be registered as a voter, knowing that he or she or that other person is not entitled to registration, is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.

Every person who knowingly and willfully signs, or causes or procures the signing of, an affidavit of registration of a nonexistent person, and who mails or delivers, or causes or procures the mailing or delivery of, that affidavit to a county elections official is guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.

Section 18101 provides that every person who knowingly and willfully completes, or causes or procures the completion of, in whole or in part, an affidavit of registration or a voter registration card, with the intent to cause the registration or reregistration as a voter of a fictitious person or of any person who has not requested registration or reregistration as a voter, is guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.

Section 18102 provides that any deputy elections official or registration elections official who knowingly registers a nonexistent person, knowingly registers a person under a false name or address, or knowingly registers a person who is ineligible to register is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.

Section 18103 provides that any person who knowingly or negligently interferes with the prompt transfer of a completed affidavit of registration to the county elections official, retains a voter’s completed registration card, without the voter’s authorization, for more than three days, or after the close of registration, or denies a voter the right to return to the county elections official the voter’s own completed registration card, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000.

Section 18104 specifies that an individual or organization having charge of affidavits of registration is guilty of a misdemeanor who knowingly neglects or refuses to return affidavits of registration.

Section 18105 prohibits an affidavit of registration or voter registration from containing any statement urging or indicating support or opposition to any candidate or measure. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 18106 provides that every person is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year who, without the specific consent of the affiant, willfully and with the intent to affect the affiant’s voting rights, causes, procures, or allows the completion, alteration, or defacement of the affiant’s party affiliation declaration contained in an executed, or partially executed, affidavit of registration.

Section 18108 provides that a person who receives money or other valuable consideration to assist another to register to vote by receiving the completed affidavit of registration from the elector is guilty of a misdemeanor, and must be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months.

Section 18108.1 provides that a person who receives money or other valuable consideration to assist another to register to vote by receiving the completed affidavit of registration from the elector, and knowingly misrepresents himself or herself as having helped register another to vote on a registration form, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and must be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000, by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both.

Section 18108.5 provides that a person, company, or other organization that agrees to pay money or other valuable consideration, whether on a per-affidavit basis or otherwise, to a person who assists another person to register to vote by receiving the completed affidavit of registration, or by assisting with the submission of an affidavit of registration electronically on the Internet Web site of the Secretary of State, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and must be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months or when the failure to comply is found to be willful, not exceeding one year, or both.

Section 18109 specifies that it is a misdemeanor for a person in possession of information knowingly to use or permit the use of all or any part of that information for any purpose other than as permitted by law. It is a misdemeanor for a person knowingly to acquire possession or use of voter registration information from the Secretary of State or a county elections official without first complying with specified requirements.

Section 18110 defines the term “home address.” Any person or public entity who, in violation of Section 2194, discloses the home address or telephone number listed on a voter registration card of certain individuals is guilty of a misdemeanor:

Section 18112 provides that, upon conviction of a violation of any provision of this chapter, the court may order as a condition of probation that the convicted person be prohibited from receiving money or other valuable consideration for assisting another person to register to vote by receiving the completed affidavit of registration.

Chapter 3 deals with the Nomination of Candidates. Section 18200 specifies that every person who subscribes to any nomination petition a fictitious name, or who intentionally subscribes the name of another, or who causes another to subscribe a fictitious name to a nomination petition, is guilty of a felony and is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years.

Section 18201 provides that any person who falsely makes or fraudulently defaces or destroys all or any part of a nomination paper, is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years or by both.

Section 18202 provides that every person acting on behalf of a candidate is guilty of a misdemeanor who deliberately fails to file at the proper time and in the proper place any nomination paper or declaration of candidacy in his or her possession that is entitled to be filed.

Section 18203 states that any person who files or submits for filing a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy knowing that it or any part of it has been made falsely is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years or by both.

Section 18204 specifies that any person who willfully suppresses all or any part of a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy either before or after filing is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years or by both.

Section 18205 prohibits a person from directly or through any other person advance, pay, solicit, or receive or cause to be advanced, paid, solicited, or received, any money or other valuable consideration to or for the use of any person in order to induce a person not to become or to withdraw as a candidate for public office. Violation of this section is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years.

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