10 July 2013
On Monday, the Californian State Senate passed legislation AB817 that would allow non-citizens to help voters when they cast their ballots. Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda sponsored the bill, which would permit as many as five permanent residents who entered the U.S. legally to help voters at polling places.
Sen. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, who placed Bonta’s bill before the Senate, said that the non-citizens could help the 2.6 million Californians whose English skills are limited: “These individuals have the absolute right to make fully informed voting decisions on Election Day,” she said.
Almost 40 organizations have thrown their support behind AB817, including the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. The measure was passed 22-10. All 22 ayes were Democrats; all 10 nays were Republicans. During the first Assembly vote in May, some Republicans said they were against the legislation because poll workers should be citizens. Now the bill goes back to the Assembly with the Senate’s changes.