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As children we learn and grow attached to the idea that things should be fair. As we grow older we often realize that they sometimes aren’t.

But there are some things so important, so vital to the fabric of our society that we have to ensure they remain fair and balanced.

Voting is among the most valued and important of these. There are few greater opportunities for us to have our voices heard as individuals than on Election Day.

For this reason it is absolutely critical that we ensure the integrity of our voting system and, with it, the fairness and integrity of our democracy.

Many of us heard warnings this year about “rigged” elections and voter fraud. From dead folks registering to alleged Russian hacking, there were more than a few suggestions that our process may be faltering.

Now, I don’t want to sound hyperbolic and I believe wholeheartedly that our system works, but there are opportunities for, and instances of, fraud and abuse – and these must be rooted out.

Over the years, as we’ve attempted to raise voter turnout and make voting accessible to all, we have also made the process easier to manipulate for those who choose to do so.

A recent report by KCBS’s David Goldstein revealed at least 1,100 dead people are currently registered to vote in Ventura, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

Each county is individually responsible for purging these non-eligible voters from their rolls but, in many cases, they are slow to do so and do no independent cross-checking to ensure their voters are alive and well before they vote.

What often happens is that these voters are registered to vote by mail and, when they pass away, their ballot continues to be mailed to their addresses.

Of course, many responsible citizens go through proper channels to correct the mistake but some people, in an overzealous attempt to influence an election, don’t. Instead, they commit voter fraud by completing and mailing in the ballot.

In another case, a couple from Southern California collected information on dozens of people and registered them to vote. They signed up their unknowing victims as permanent vote-by-mail voters and had the ballots sent to the couple’s house.

The couple was ultimately caught and penalized. However, this is often not the case and many instances of voter fraud go unnoticed and, worse, ignored by county elections officials as well as the California Secretary of State, who is in charge of investigating fraud on the state level.

As California moves ever closer to an absentee-only voting system, the potential for fraud has increased. Back in 2011, then-state Sen. George Runner introduced SB 802 in an attempt to remedy the issue but ran against a Democratic brick wall in the Legislature.

The bill would have taken measures to ensure vote-by-mail ballots were being filled out only by the intended recipient. Unfortunately, the bill, like many before and after, failed when the majority party chose to kill it in service of their own interests rather than the interest of fairness and democracy.

Many legislative proposals to strengthen electoral integrity have failed. And, even more unfortunate, the few laws in place currently are rarely enforced by county and state officials.

Voter fraud is a real issue. How widespread is unclear, but if even a single vote is cast that should not rightfully be, then we have a major problem that needs to be fixed.

I think everyone would agree that at least one ballot this year was wrongfully counted. And yet the elected officials responsible for ensuring the integrity of the system don’t agree that a solution is needed.

This is why I am calling on all Californians to join me in urging all California elections officials to investigate each and every case of reported or suspected fraud, no matter how small.

As Americans our electoral process is among our most prized possessions. It is a big part of what sets us apart from other nations that struggle under the tyranny of authoritarian rule.

Free and fair elections are the hallmark of a democracy, and we need to model an integral system for emerging democracies that can be emulated across the globe.

Life may not always be fair, but the election process should be.

Assemblyman Scott Wilk represents the 38th Assembly District encompassing Simi Valley, the northwestern section of the San Fernando Valley and most of the Santa Clarita Valley.

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  • nohatejustdebate

    If we can keep dead people from voting, always require proper ID, and curb illegal immigrants from flooding through our southern borders, the Democratic Party might never win another presidential election.

    • Brian Baker

      There’s that, and also stop “early voting”. If it’s not important enough to you to show up on the day of, it’s not important that you vote at all, then.

      The only mailed ballots should be from traditional “absentees”; people who will be out of town, or on military deployment or assignment. Period.

      • indy

        Poster: There’s that, and also stop “early voting”. If it’s not important enough to you to show up on the day of, it’s not important that you vote at all, then.

        Indy: This poster ignores the reality that many Americans who ‘work’ for a living are not given any permission to vote on election day.

        Having the pools open weeks before hand encourages the public to cast their votes to protect their liberty and freedom.

        To discourage same is to essentially advocate un-American policies that are against the very foundation of the Constitution principles that our Founding Fathers fought and died for.

        • tech

          Non sequitur.

          Speaking of ignoring reality, voters work 12 hour workdays, i.e from 8 AM to 8 PM? What about mail in ballots?

    • indy

      I would encourage this poster to contact Wilk and let him know that it is ‘he’ as an elected politician who is responsible for the workings of government. So this issue of ‘dead’ people still on the voting rolls should have been resolved decades ago . . . especially by republicans that see the issue so clearly.

      With respect to migrants, I’d ask the poster here to ponder why the GOP fights international family planning aid that eases migration and addresses global unsustainable population growth.

      Finally, the use of gerrymandering and voter suppression by the GOP to limit the number of voters eligible is unconscionable . . . violates the Constitution and removes the opportunity for ‘all’ citizens to vote and protect their liberty and freedom.

      PS – Hillary won the popular vote by over 1 million votes.

      • P.S. San Francisco’s Measure N passed and allows non-citizens to vote in school board elections.

      • tech

        Hillary is winning a contest that doesn’t exist? Cool!

  • robert stauffer

    If you’re not cheating, your’re not trying – and nobody tries harder to win elections than a Democrat.

    The Democrats cheated in the debates and they cheated Bernie out of the nomination. Who in the world thinks they didn’t cheat in the election itself?

  • Steve Lunetta

    Have you ever been at a poll when a dead person votes? Its disgusting. The smell, they usually leave body parts laying around, and dogs try to nibble the exposed bone. This must stop immediately.

    • Bobs R

      That DOES sound very similar to someone in front of me in line at the polling place…

  • nohatejustdebate

    Steve, that sounds more like Obama’s legacy.

    Didn’t see the Sessions appointment coming but it will be nice to have a real Attorney General again. General Flynn is also a great choice for National Security Advisor. No doubt the Democratic whores in the media will be reporting all day that they are both racist bigots. In serious news, it’s been remarkable to see how Trump is reaching out to people like Romney and Cruz while Pence met with Pelosi. This all goes against the media’s constant drumbeat about Trump but then, what else is new?

  • tech

    A cogent argument for electoral integrity, Mr. Wilk. All citizens have a vested interest in free and fair elections without the taint of fraud.