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Seaside city resisting state Dems’ attempt to force it into ‘submission’ over voter ID law

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A conservative enclave in Southern California is embroiled in a legal dispute with the state’s liberal authorities over its voter ID law that was passed by more than 50% of the city’s voters. 

Huntington Beach Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark told Fox News Digital the latest lawsuit from Sacramento authorities is just another targeted attack on the city’s values. 

“I’m a person of color, I grew up in a low-income community in Los Angeles, and we all had IDs,” Van Der Mark told Fox News Digital in an interview Thursday. “And one thing that is really frustrating is they’re saying, people like me are too ignorant or incapable of getting an ID, and that’s insulting.”

“This is definitely government overreach,” she said.

California’s Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta and California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber filed a lawsuit last week against the beach city – which is roughly 35 miles south of Los Angeles – challenging its voter ID law, Measure A, which amends the city’s charter to allow voter ID requirements by 2026. It also includes a requirement for additional in-person voting locations. 

CALIFORNIA SUES HUNTINGTON BEACH OVER VOTER ID LAW BACKED BY MAJORITY OF RESIDENTS

Huntington Beach Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark is defending the city’s voter ID law that voters passed in March 2024. (Getty Images)

“They’re telling us ‘it’s okay, we don’t need these measures of security,’ but we’re insisting on them,” Van Der Mark, elected in 2023, said. “So, they can sue us. We’re going to push forward and do what the people want us to do.”

In their lawsuit, Bonta and Weber argued that the city’s voter ID law “unlawfully conflicts and is preempted by state law.” 

“The right to freely cast your vote is the foundation of our democracy and Huntington Beach’s voter ID policy flies in the face of this principle,” Bonta said in a statement. 

He argued that state elections already contain “robust voter ID requirements with strong protections to prevent voter fraud.” He said the new requirements would disproportionately burden “low-income voters, voters of color, young or elderly voters, and people with disabilities.” 

AG GARLAND PLEDGES TO FIGHT VOTER ID LAWS, ELECTION INTEGRITY MEASURES

Huntington Beach pier seen in aerial shot

Waves roll past the Huntington Beach Pier, epicenter of the city’s beach culture, in Huntington Beach, California, on Feb. 22, 2024. (Rick Loomis for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The City Council, led by a politically conservative majority since 2022, stirred considerable debate by making contentious decisions on various issues recently, like the government-only flag protocol on city properties and removal of sexually explicit books in the public library.

“Sacramento is trying to make an example out of Huntington Beach,” Van Der Mark said. “They’re suing us every opportunity they can and every time we do something, they try to write bills to counter what we’re doing or to make what we’re doing illegal. So, I believe they’re trying to sway us into submission, and we’re not going to allow that to happen.”

LA MAYOR BREAK-IN SUSPECT WAS ‘TARGETING’ BASS, GASCON SAYS

left: Rob Bonta, California's attorney general; right: voting booth

California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit last week against Huntington Beach, challenging its voter ID law, Measure A.  (Getty Images)

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California officials first warned Huntington Beach officials to drop the voter ID proposal in September. The lawsuit argues that Measure A violates state law and is invalid because it conflicts with California’s Constitution, which grants charter cities the authority to govern “municipal affairs” but prohibits local laws from conflicting with statewide laws. 

Under current California law, according to the AG’s office, “voter identity is established before registered voters get to the polls; at the polls, registered voters are only required to provide their name and address – no further identification is required.”

This is not the first time the state has threatened a conservative city over local laws passed. Last year, Bonta threatened several school districts over their parental notification policies. 

Fox News’ Bradford Bretz and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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