CA “False Voting Information” Laws – Election Code 18302 EC

January 1, 2019

In California, election code 18302 ec[1] makes it a crime to knowingly distribute false or misleading information to voters. The crime seeks to uphold the integrity of the voting system and allow voters to make fair informed decisions. Distributing false or misleading information may be in the form of mailers, text messages, e-mails, telephone calls, or any other electronic or internet means.

EC 18302(a)/(b) is a misdemeanor offense carrying up to one (1) year in the county jail. In addition, since the crime involves deceitful conduct, it is categorized as a crime involving moral turpitude. Consequently, this could lead to adverse effects to those holding a professional license.

Several defenses may be available for someone charged with this offense. For instance, you may have not harbored the specific intent to deceive voters or you did not knowingly distribute the material as someone else may have distributed the information without your knowledge. Furthermore, you may have not caused the information to be distributed to prospective voters.

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If you have been charged or are under investigation for an election crime, then contact an experienced Newport Beach criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Our office has a specific focus on representation those accused of white collar crimes and we update ourselves on the latest updates in the law. Contact our office today to schedule a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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[1] (a) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who knowingly causes to be mailed or distributed, or knowingly mails or distributes, literature to a voter that includes a designation of the voter’s precinct polling place other than a precinct polling place listed for that voter in an official precinct polling list that constituted the latest official precinct polling list at sometime not more than 30 days prior to the mailing or distribution.

(b) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who, with actual knowledge and intent to deceive, causes to be distributed or distributes, including distribution by mail, radio or television broadcast, telephone call, text message, email, or any other electronic means, including over the Internet, literature or any other form of communication to a voter that includes any of the following:

(1) The incorrect location of a vote center, office of an elections official, satellite office of an elections official where voting is permitted, vote by mail ballot drop box, or vote by mail ballot drop-off location.

(2) False or misleading information regarding the qualifications to vote or to register to vote.

(3) False or misleading information regarding the date of an election or the days, dates, or times voting may occur at a place described in paragraph (1).


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