President Trump is sabotaging census, California elections chief says

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- California Secretary of State Alex Padilla says the federal government is far behind and underfunded in preparation for the 2020 census and lays the blame on President Donald Trump.

Speaking on Eyewitness Newsmakers, Padilla referred to his recently-published opinion piece accusing the president of suppressing the population count, which could lose a congressional seat for the state and jeopardize funding for health, education and transportation.

Padilla's primary opposition is the Department of Justice request to add a citizenship question to the census survey. He said there hasn't been such a question in 50 years, and all California residents should be counted, even non-citizens. Padilla also pointed to U.S. Census Director John Thompson's resignation nearly a year ago, and he still hadn't been replaced. Funding and personnel are also lagging. Padilla stated this is a deliberate attempt to undercount the population.

Padilla recently testified before a joint legislative committee in Sacramento on cyber security in elections. He maintains there was no vote hacking in 2016, but there was Russian interference on the internet as there is now in the 2018 election. The secretary of state pointed out that by law, California ballots are not connected to the internet and there is a paper record for every vote. Still, the state is seeking a $268 million upgrade for the voting system. Padilla said some counties look to eBay for parts to fix the outdated counting machines.

Starting April 16, Padilla's Motor Voter law goes into effect. When a driver gets a license or renews one, they will be automatically registered to vote. He said the law giving undocumented residents a driver's license will keep their information separate from citizens for voter registration. A license applicant can opt out if they don't want to be registered to vote.

New voters were also discussed. For 18 months, 16- and 17-year-olds have pre-registered so they can vote as soon as they turn 18. Padilla said the 90,000 teens registered so far haven't reflected interest in the upcoming election nor the student activism stemming from the Parkland shooting. The majority of the teen pre-registered voters are choosing no party preference, which Padilla says reflects the rest of the electorate.
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