Non-Citizens to Monitor Elections in California, Could Also Be Jurors

By Barbara Hollingsworth | August 30, 2013 | 12:14 PM EDT


California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) (AP Photo)

( – California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that allows non-citizens who are permanent legal residents of the United States to serve as poll workers. (See AB 817.pdf)

According to California’s Poll Worker Training Guide, poll workers are responsible for assisting voters, maintaining election security, detecting fraud, and securely transporting voting machines and ballots. (See Poll Worker Manual.pdf)

Another bill (AB 1401) passed by the California State Assembly last week and currently awaiting Brown’s signature would also allow California’s 3.4 million green card holders to sit in judgment of U.S. citizens as jurors.

The two bills extend rights that have previously been the exclusive domain of U.S. citizens based on “the shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality,” further blurring the legal line between citizen and non-citizen.

Under AB 817, which cleared the California legislature on August 8th and has already been signed into law, people who are legal residents of the U.S. but not naturalized citizens will be allowed to monitor elections in the Sunshine State, which has 55 Electoral College votes and 53 congressional seats.

Election officials in California can now appoint up to five permanent residents, who speak English and meet all other requirements for voting except U.S. citizenship, to monitor elections in the state.

Election Integrity Project president Linda Paine criticized the measure, pointing out that California already provides foreign language ballots and translators at the polls for U.S. citizens with limited English proficiency.

“Non-citizen poll workers (cleverly labeled ‘nonvoters’ in the bill) are not required to prove green card status to ensure that they are even in California legally. As non-citizens, they have never sworn allegiance to our country or its laws,” Paine said in a statement before the bill was signed.

Legislators debated AB 1401 for only seven minutes last week before it was passed by the  Democratic majority on a party-line vote. The bill allows green card holders to sit on juries, giving foreigners the power to convict American citizens of breaking U.S. law.

“The current jury pool is a little selective, I believe. We have trouble finding people who are willing to perform jury service,” Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel. told FOX 40 in arguing in favor of the bill.

“The best jury service is one that includes a fair cross section of the entire community, and the entire community often times is people who ware lawfully here but not U.S. citizens,” he said.