Legal residents who are not citizens would be able to serve as volunteer poll workers during California elections under legislation approved Monday by the state Senate.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) introduced the measure to address a shortage of bilingual poll workers and increase civic engagement by residents who are ineligible to vote because they are not yet citizens.
“As our country moves closer towards comprehensive immigration reform, it is important for states to create opportunities for lawful permanent residents to participate in our democratic process and encourage them to continue on the pathway towards citizenship," Bonta said.
AB 817 was previously approved by the Assembly but goes back to that house for concurence on minor amendments.
Bonta said the measure will help the state address the 2.6 million eligible voters who are not yet fully proficient in English. “Without language assistance, these citizens face challenges in asserting their right to vote and casting an informed ballot,” he said.