Huntington Beach faces lawsuit for voter ID law

Last month Huntington Beach voters approved a new voter ID law. Now the state is claiming the law is illegal.

California is suing Huntington Beach over the Southern California city’s voter ID law. 

Attorney General Rob Bonta and Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced the lawsuit on Monday. 


The backstory: Huntington Beach voters passed Measure A during the March primary, which requires voters to provide identification in municipal elections. The law will take effect in 2026. 

  • Bonta and Weber sent a letter to Huntington Beach last September uring the city to not move forward with having the measure on the ballot. 

The big picture: Bonta and Weber claim that the voter ID law is illegal and preempted by state law. 

  • They claim that while charter cities have the right to govern municipal affairs, local law cannot conflict with state law governing a statewide concern. They argue that both the integrity of California’s elections and the protection of the Constitutional right to vote are matters of statewide concern. 
  • They also argue that voter identity is already established before voters go to the polls in California. 

What they’re saying: Bonta said that the voter ID law flies in the face of the right to freely cast votes, which he called the “foundation of our democracy.” 

  • “State election law already contains robust voter ID requirements with strong protections to prevent voter fraud, while ensuring that every eligible voter can cast their ballot without hardship,” Bonta said. “Imposing unnecessary obstacles to voter participation disproportionately burdens low-income voters, voters of color, young or elderly voters, and people with disabilities. We’re asking the court to block Huntington Beach’s unlawful step toward suppressing or disenfranchising voters. The California Department of Justice stands ready to defend the voting rights that make our democracy strong.” 

The other side: “The people of Huntington Beach have made their voices clear on this issue and the people’s decision on the March 5th ballot measures for election integrity is final,” Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates told Courthouse News. “To that end, the city will vigorously uphold and defend the will of the people.”

Related Posts