Legal group says San Mateo County has more voters than adult residents

Daily Post Staff Writer

San Mateo County has more registered voters than it has adults of voting age, according to the conservative legal organization Judicial Watch, which has just reached a settlement in Los Angeles County over the same issue.

But state and San Mateo County officials said Judicial Watch reached the wrong conclusion by adding both the lists of active and inactive voters to get the total number of registered voters.

Counties maintain two lists of voters — regular voters and inactive voters, defined as people who have not voted in two federal elections. Federal elections happen every two years, when people vote for president, U.S. senator or a member of the House. A regular voter goes from the active to inactive list if they fail to vote for four years.

Judicial Watch says the danger in having more registered voters than actual eligible voters is that it opens the door to election fraud. For instance, in a household where a voter dies, that residence might still receive a mail ballot for the dead person. A survivor could be tempted to vote twice — using their own ballot and the dead relative’s ballot.

Judicial Watch claims that there are more than 1.5 million ineligible voters on the rolls in Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles County settlement requires elections officials to send letters to everyone of the inactive list and ask them if they still wish to remain as registered voters.

San Mateo County figures

In San Mateo County, Judicial Watch claims that in 2016 there were 480,863 adults in San Mateo County, and that there were 532,645 people registered to vote. That means the voter registration list — both active and inactive voters — represents 111% of the population.

However, Attorney General Alex Padilla’s office says that in 2016, there were 503,843 eligible voters in the county and 395,928 were registered to vote. By these numbers, 78.58% of eligible voters in San Mateo County were registered to vote.

Judicial Watch’s lawsuit in Los Angeles was supported by a June 2018 federal Supreme Court ruling that requires the removal of inactive voters from registration lists in an Ohio case known as Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute (link to SCOTUS ruling). The high court said the removal is “mandatory.”

But Dean Logan, LA County registrar of voters, told the Los Angeles Times that the inactive list is more of a “fail-safe to make sure that people are not administratively disenfranchised” from their right to vote.

Will group target San Mateo County?

Judicial Watch attorney Robert Popper told the Post yesterday that his organization hasn’t decided whether to take action against San Mateo County or nine other counties in California that have more registered voters than adult residents. Popper said they’re waiting for new census numbers to determine if the county has more voters than residents.

Jim Irizarry, San Mateo County’s assistant chief elections officer, maintained that the office follows both national and state voting laws when cleaning out the voter rolls.

“One of our major responsibilities is to maintain the accuracy of our voter files daily,” Irizarry said.

Voter rolls kept up to date

“Literally thousands of files are updated weekly by staff in cooperation with the Secretary of State’s Voter Registration system,” Irizarry said in an email. “The majority of the activities are for voters who have moved either out or county, out of state or passed away. Voter registration and maintaining the rolls is a very fluid process that changes daily.”


  1. Judicial Watch is concerned that, “A survivor could be tempted to vote twice — using their own ballot and the dead relative’s ballot.” First, they probably wouldn’t be sent a ballot since they are on the inactive list, but IF that happens, the ballot is then rejected because the name is on the inactive list, not the active list of registered voters. Perhaps you could find out the process before you start legal process?

  2. This discovery is not at all surprising as it is a long-standing corrupt pattern by The Machine. The Machine needs the extra ballots so that they can keep on counting ballots until they achieve the desired results. Most recently, this happened in the election of Redwood City council members (Nov 2018). The Machine wants to win by any means.

  3. This begs the question: Were any underhanded techniques used to get the Measure W Samtrans sales tax to pass? Throughout the three weeks of ballot counting, the tax was losing. Then the final batch of ballots reversed the outcome and put it over the top. Is it possible that this final batch contained all “inactive voter” ballots? This certainly is suspicious. At the very least, Mark Church needs to immediately purge the “inactive voters” from his rolls, as is required by the U.S. Supreme Court. He shouldn’t sit around wait to be sued, which will needlessly waste county tax funds.

  4. I live in San Carlos. In my home, both my mother and father have died and yet we keep getting ballots for them. We throw the ballots out. We’ve also called the Elections Department but the ballots still keep coming for every election. I’ve wondered how many other people are getting ballots for deceased relatives. A cleanup of the voter rolls is long overdue in my opinion.

    • @CR receiving the ballots, and actually voting with them are two separate matters. There are problems with sending them out, but as for actually determining if they count, when being sent in, the system is good on that front

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