Huntington Beach Considering a Slew of Changes for Voters to Decide on 2024 Ballot

Huntington Beach Considering a Slew of Changes for Voters to Decide on 2024 Ballot

Voters enter a polling station at Irvine City Hall in Irvine, Calif., on Nov. 2, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

8/11/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

The Huntington Beach City Council in Orange County, California, voted Aug. 1 to have voters decide in the 2024 primary election if identification should be required to vote, how often some officials are elected and possible changes to some council meeting housekeeping issues as well as the required qualifications for future city clerk hires.
A total of 11 issues may be on the upcoming ballot that would change the city’s governing rules, known as its charter.
One up for consideration would be the requirement that voters must show ID for in-person voting in future elections.
As part of such, the city would also require at least 12 polling locations throughout the city—a little more than double from the last election and require city staff to monitor each, with how often or for how long yet to be decided.
Mayor Tony Strickland said both could increase voter confidence, especially having to show identification.
“I do believe this brings more comfort into the election process and people trust the election results more if you have a voter ID,” he said.
Huntington Beach Mayor Tony Strickland conducts a city council meeting at the Civic Center in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Jan. 17, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Huntington Beach Mayor Tony Strickland conducts a city council meeting at the Civic Center in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Jan. 17, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

But Councilman Dan Kalmick disagreed, saying residents have told him “there’s plenty of confidence” in the city’s elections.
Both councilmen Pat Burns and Casey McKeon disagreed.
“Every person I’ve talked to doesn’t understand how you have to use an ID for almost every aspect of life. … The most sacred thing is voting. [But] if you go to the polling place and go ‘can I show you my ID,’ they go ‘oh no we don’t accept that,’” Mr. McKeon said.
An informal straw poll, with four councilors in favor and three opposed, approved the voting changes for consideration on the upcoming ballot.
Other amendments that will possibly be on the 2024 ballot include allowing for cancellation of city council meetings by a majority vote; changing the city’s budgeting from one to two years; and modifying city clerk hiring qualifications to only require a bachelor’s degree—instead of a business administration or related degree.
Changing when the city clerk and city treasurer are elected could also be put up for voters to decide, as the positions are currently voted for in a separate election from the city attorney and councilors.
“I thought it would be good to consolidate into one election,” Mr. Strickland said.
But Mr. Kalmick argued doing such would extend the terms by two years for the city clerk and treasurer.
“Why not just have it be a two-year term and then clean it up … the voters voted for four years not six,” he said.
Some residents, during the meeting, spoke against the proposed charter amendments.
“Why would we suggest charter changes without any justification to support them … per the local election proposal the issues are how and why? Mayor Strickland says it would help strengthen faith in the integrity of local elections. It’s just the opposite,” one resident said.
Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates is now tasked to review the legality of the proposed charter amendments and report back to the council his findings for a final vote in September.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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