GOP Decides Signature Verification Bad Now. At Least In California.

Noted good-faith arguer Darrell Issa.

Signature verification is the most important tool available to combat voter fraud! Signature verification is a dangerous scheme by devious elections officials to defeat the will of the people! It all depends on who's doing the verifying — and who's leveling the allegation. But the GOP happily takes both these positions simultaneously, without batting an eye at the screaming hypocrisy.

While their throats are still sore from howling that Georgia and Nevada's lax signature verification laws allowed their registrars to be flooded with fraudulent Democratic ballots, the GOP has seamlessly shifted to screaming about the unfairness of signature vetting by California registrars in the campaign to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

"I expect them to lie, cheat and steal," California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa told Politico, adding that Democrats could "take all the friendly registrars of voters they can find ... and just challenge every signature." Yes, the same Darrell Issa who was so concerned about fraud that he sued to stop Gov. Newsom from sending absentee ballots to all mail-in voters during a viral pandemic is now MAD AS HELL that anyone would check to see if paid collectors were bringing in legitimate signatures.

As Politico notes, folks in California petitioning to get things on the ballot build in an assumption that something like one in five of their signatures will be rejected because it's fraudulent or can't be verified. All the bullshit Republicans spew about rampant fraud in "ballot harvesting" -- i.e. allowing a third party to collect official absentee ballots and return them in bulk to the county registrar -- is actually true when it comes to signature collection. That's why Kanye West never made it onto the ballot in Illinois. Or Ohio. Or Virginia. Or Arizona. Because when you pay some rando $13/hour to wander around finding voters to sign their names, you're likely to wind up with a lot of Mickey Mouses and Elvises Presley.

But it's definitely doable if you're not an absolute clownshow stunt candidate. And Republicans in California have managed to meet the signature threshold for ballot initiatives, including in 2003 when Issa himself worked to recall then-Governor Gray Davis. It's simple bad faith for Republicans to balk at legally mandated signature verification here while wailing that the election in Nevada is illegitimate because the machines in Clark County don't reject enough votes.

But bad faith is kind of the GOP's bag, baby. So California GOP Rep. Doug LaMalfa is howling about needing to pump up the signature tally "to be beyond the margin of Democrat trickery," while that Hercules dipshit Kevin Sorbo tweets lies about Democrats requiring signature verification for ballot initiatives but not mail-in votes. (It's required for both.)

GOP strategist David Gilliard, who is actually running the recall drive, isn't worried about fraud, though. "I'm not overly concerned about the registrars doing anything nefarious,'' the political operative, who has been running petition campaigns since the 2003 Davis recall, told Politico, adding later, "We've been validating these [signatures] internally — all the way from the beginning — and we know exactly how many valid signatures we have. We will have well over what we need to qualify."

But that's just, like, objective reality. And what fun is that, right?

Oh, you scamps!


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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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