California Dems pass law making it a crime to spread ‘misinformation’ about mail-in voting


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The Democrat majority in California has passed a law making it a crime to spread “misinformation” about mail-in voting.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a new bill that makes it a misdemeanor criminal offense to speak of voting by mail in a way that is considered not accurate by the government. The bill, SB 739, became state law effective immediately after the governor signed it and its sponsor wants prosecutors to “go after violators” immediately.

“If you’re putting out tweets, Facebook posts or using social and other types of media to intentionally mislead voters about their right and ability to vote by mail, that’s now a crime, and it’s my hope local D.A.s and the state attorney general will go after violators the moment they see them,” Sen. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles, said, according to KCAL-TV.

“In the midst of this worldwide pandemic, it is imperative that voters, especially those who are getting a vote-by-mail ballot for the first time, know their rights and are getting accurate, reliable information,” the Democrat added.

The law that appears to be criminalizing free speech is supposedly set to protect California voters who wish to vote by mail in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, stating that it is to “ensure voters are not misled about their voting rights before the November 3, 2020, statewide general election.”

(Image; NBC Bay Area screenshot)

Misdemeanor charges will apply to anyone who intentionally gives a voter “incorrect location of a vote center, office of an elections official, satellite office of an elections official where voting is permitted, vote by mail ballot drop box, or vote by mail ballot drop-off location.”

Any “false or misleading information” about qualifications to vote or to register to vote as well as “apply for, receive, or return a vote by mail ballot” are all part of the wording of the new law.

“This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety,” the law stated.

“The spread of misinformation and disinformation are enormous threats to our elections. Voting by mail is a critical component of our plans to keep our elections accessible, secure and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

“We need to discourage and combat election disinformation that could disenfranchise citizens. Our democracy depends on it,” Padilla added, noting that almost 60% of voters in the state are registered as permanent vote-by-mail voters.

All of California’s registered voters are set to automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the 2020 November election.

The new law will likely spark lawsuits as its problematic wording states that those accused of the violation must be shown to have had “actual knowledge and intent to deceive.”

News of the passage of the law sparked immediate backlash on social media.

 

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.

Frieda Powers

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