Governor Signs Bill to Improve Voter File Security

Monday, July 16, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Today Governor Brown signed legislation authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) to improve voter file security and combat deceptive information about voting. Assembly Bill 1678 modernizes procedures for secure storage of voter data, protocols for notifying authorities of data breaches, and penalties for distributing misinformation about voting.

“Our voting systems are under constant threat from foreign governments and bad actors, such as Russia. Recent breaches of databases held by third parties have left voter data exposed. In addition, the dissemination of intentionally false information about when and how to vote continues to occur,” said Berman. “While President Trump sides with Russia over America’s intelligence agencies, it is vital for the health of our democracy that we protect voter data and combat tactics that threaten the integrity of our elections.”

AB 1678 provides additional tools for California to combat false election information and ensure that voter data is secure in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats.

“Securing voter data and fighting misinformation has never been a more critical mission for our democracy,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “AB 1678 modernizes the security storage procedures campaigns, journalists, and researchers must follow to access voter data. Those with access to voter data have a responsibility to protect it.  This legislation will also expand penalties for those who seek to spread false election information.”

“Today’s press conference with President Trump made it clear that the federal government will not be stepping up to defend the integrity of our elections,” said Senator Henry Stern, who co-authored AB 1678. “California voters should rest a bit easier knowing that the state is rolling out the strongest elections security framework in the nation. We moved this as an urgency measure because we needed to make it clear that knowingly spreading misinformation about voter qualifications or voting sites will now be a crime in California.”

AB 1678 received bipartisan support in the Legislature.

Contact: Kaitlin Curry, (916) 319-2024