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Voter Registration Rosters in California Election Code

County elections officials are required to supply copies of the roster and supplements as requested by elections officials

By Chris Micheli, February 18, 2022 6:35 am

California law, in its Elections Code, provides for voter registration rosters in Division 2, Chapter 2, Article 5, which contains Sections 2183 – 2194.1. Section 2183 requires the elections official to supply an electronic copy, or paper copy upon request, of the roster and of supplements to the roster, for all elections to be held within the county.

The county elections official is required to supply copies of the roster and supplements as may be requested by the elections official of a city, school district, or other body. The name of each voter whose affidavit of registration has been canceled is required to be removed from the roster and supplement. The county elections official may charge an amount sufficient to reimburse the county for the expense incurred in preparing and furnishing the roster and supplements.

The roster must contain the name, address, residence telephone number if furnished, and political party preference of each voter, and also a ruled space to the left of each name, within which to write, in figures, the line number designating the position of the name of the voter.

Section 2184 provides that, upon request of any Member of the Legislature, of Congress, or any candidate who is to be voted for in the county, in a city, or in a political subdivision of either, or upon written demand of his or her campaign committee, the county elections official is required to furnish to the Member of the Legislature, of Congress, or to either the candidate or his or her campaign committee or to the ballot measure committee the roster for the primary and general elections in which the Member of the Legislature or Congress may participate as a candidate, or the ballot measure will be voted upon, at a charge of fifty cents per thousand names.

Section 2185 states that, upon written request of the chair or vice chair of a party state central committee or of the chair of a party county central committee, the county elections official is required to furnish to each committee, without charge, the roster for the primary and general elections, for any special election at which a partisan office is to be filled, or for any statewide special election.

Section 2187 requires each county elections official to provide notice to the Secretary of State that the following information is available:

  • The total number of voters in the county.
  • The number registered as preferring each qualified political party.
  • The number registered as preferring nonqualified parties.
  • The number registered without choosing a political party preference.
  • The number of voters by political party preferences in each of the specified political subdivisions, located in whole or in part within the county:

The Secretary of State, within 30 days after receiving the information specified above, is required to compile a statewide list showing the number of voters, by party preferences, in the state and in each county, city, supervisorial district, Assembly district, Senate district, and congressional district in the state. In addition, the county elections officials are required to prepare the information referenced above and provide notice to the Secretary of State.

Section 2188 provides that any application for voter registration information available and maintained by the Secretary of State or by the elections official of any county is to be made pursuant to this section. The application has to set forth specified information.

Section 2188.1 authorizes the Secretary of State to insert fictitious names of voters into the voter registration information database as an investigative and enforcement tool for determining inappropriate or unauthorized uses of voter registration information.

Section 2188.2 requires the Secretary of State to adopt regulations that describe the best practices for storage and security of voter registration information received by an applicant.

Section 2188.3 provides that a person or entity who has received voter registration information pursuant to an application made must, following discovery or notification of a breach in the security of the storage of the information, disclose the breach in security to the Secretary of State. The disclosure to the Secretary of State must be made in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay.

Section 2188.5 provides that a person who requests voter information or who obtains signatures or other information collected for an initiative, referendum, political party qualification, or recall petition is prohibited from sending that information outside of the United States or making it available in any way electronically to persons outside the United States, including, but not limited to, access over the Internet.

Section 2189 states that, before the first day of the opening of the polls for any election held throughout the county, the county elections official must deliver to the precinct board in each precinct at least one printed or electronic copy of the roster for that polling place, with canceled names lined out and with necessary supplements to bring the roster up to date.

Section 2191 requires the elections official to compile a voter list or file, by precinct, of all persons who voted in previous elections. This information must be compiled in conjunction with the purge of voter registration files conducted.

Section 2193 requires the Secretary of State, from the information furnished by the county elections officials, to identify possible duplicate voter registrations. Those voter registrations determined to be duplicates must be merged and the voter registration bearing the most recent date is to be the active record for that voter.

Section 2194 provides that the affidavit of voter registration information:

  • Shall be confidential and not appear on any computer terminal, list, affidavit, duplicate affidavit, or other medium routinely available to the public at the county elections official’s office.
  • Shall not be used for any personal, private, or commercial purpose.
  • Shall be provided with respect to any voter to any candidate for federal, state, or local office, to any committee for or against any initiative or referendum measure for which legal publication is made, and to any person for election, scholarly, journalistic, or political purposes, or for governmental purposes, as determined by the Secretary of State.
  • May be used by the Secretary of State for the purpose of educating voters.

The California driver’s license number, the California identification card number, the social security number, and any other unique identifier used by the State of California for purposes of voter identification shown on the affidavit of voter registration of a registered voter, or added to voter registration records to comply with the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, are confidential and are prohibited from being disclosed to any person. The signature of the voter shown on the affidavit of voter registration or an image thereof is confidential and cannot be disclosed to any person, except as provided.

Section 2194.1 specifies that any affidavit of registration information in existence 100 years after the creation of the record is available to the public. If records are contained in the great registers of voters and the bound register contains information covering more than one year, the records cannot be available to the public until the entire contents of the register have been recorded for at least 100 years.

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