Republican Mark Meuser is running for California Secretary of State, and he stopped by Ridgecrest on Friday afternoon to speak with the Ridgecrest Republican Women, Federated.

Meuser spoke for just under an hour about the role of the Secretary of State, the problems he sees with how things are currently run, and what he plans to do differently. He also requested for campaign donations, saying that at the moment he's preaching to the choir by talking to groups such as Republican Women, Federated, and receiving more donations would help his campaign get a balanced budget so they could move on to reaching out to other demographics of voters. Those interested in learning more about Meuser or donating can find information at

Ridgecrest Republican Women, Federated is a local group that's part of the state and national Republican Women group. According to the "About" section on their Facebook page, their goal is to help educate the public on national and state issues. They also hold monthly lunch meetings around town. Friday's meeting was held at Casey's Steaks & Barbecue on 1337 N. China Lake Boulevard.

The position of California Secretary of State is currently held by D-Alex Padilla, who won the general election in November 2014. The state-wide direct primary election is scheduled for June 5, 2018. The top candidates from this election will then go on to be on the ballot for the general election in November 2018.

At the Ridgecrest Republican Women, Federated meeting on Friday, Meuser explained the role of the California Secretary of State, much to the gratitude of many of those in attendance.

"The Secretary of State is not a policymaking position," Meuser said. "You are like the sheriff. You are the enforcer of the law, not the maker of the law."

The California Secretary of State operates as the state's Chief Elections Officer, a role which Meuser spent the majority of his time talking about during the meeting on Friday. Judging by his talk on Friday and the information available on his website, the driving force of his campaign is election integrity.

"It's important to understand why we have voter registration in order to understand why I am running for Secretary of State," he said. "One of the duties of the Secretary of State is that they are responsible for making sure that the county registers are keeping clean voter rolls. And right now, the state of California has 101 percent voter registration. LA County has 144 percent voter registration. San Diego County is over 130 percent."

Meuser explained that the voter registration percentage is determined by comparing voter registration compared to census data showing the population of voter-eligible citizens.

He said that there are five ways that a county can get higher voter registration than their population of eligible voters. Two of the reasons he gave include voters who were registered but are no longer counted in the census because they either died or moved away. Meuser said that they should be removed from the voter roll, but sometimes they are not removed.

Other reasons he gave include duplicate or ineligible voter registration. For these, he often gave the example of volunteers helping people to register for the vote outside of a grocery store. He said some people may not want to write down their actual information, so they may scribble down a false address which goes into the vote roll, and then they may register again with their real address.

He also said some people may register under nicknames, such as Bob instead of Robert, and end up with two registrations if they register both outside a grocery store and at the DMV when they sign up for a driver's license.

Finally, Meuser said that non-citizens sometimes get registered to vote through those grocery store volunteers. He said the non-citizen may say that they aren't allowed to vote, but some of the volunteers can be quite persistent.

He said the volunteers may say that if they aren't allowed to vote, the county simply won't send them voter information material. However, sometimes they still get into the system, Meuser said.

He noted that in the case of non-citizens, it's often the non-citizen who becomes the victim of the situation.

"You know who gets punished? That non-citizen who had a green card and was trying to become a citizen," Meuser said. "When he fills out the form and says, 'Yes, I have voted," there have been many judges who say that they committed a felony and send them back to their country. They had gone through the whole process, and they trusted that the government would remove them from the rolls, but the government sent them voting materials. They thought they could trust the person who said to sign up. But they were the ones who became the victim."

Meuser said that this excess of duplicate or inaccurate voter registrations leads to problems because people can take advantage of it by casting more than one vote by voting under the name of one of those duplicate registrations. He said there are organizations who will pay college students or illegal immigrants to bus around to polling stations, look up names of people who haven't voted, and then vote under their name.

"You know who doesn't believe 'One person, one vote?' It's not the Democrats. It's not the declining states. It's not the Republicans," he said. "All those people believe one person, one vote. The people who do not believe one person, one vote is special interest because special interests desire their interests to take precedence over the people."

Meuser said he is running to fix this issue. He said he will do so by using databases that the state already has access to in order to clean the voter rolls, and keep them clean.

Padilla, the current Secretary of State, has previously commented on voter registration rates in California after conservative watchdog Judicial Watch released a letter on Aug. 1, 2017, which publicized the story that the state and 11 counties have more registered voters than eligible voters.

In a Twitter post on Aug. 9, 2017, Padilla said, "Another baseless claim in an effort to suppress the vote. Bad math. Flawed methodology." The Twitter post also linked to the Aug. 9, 2017, article from the Sacramento Bee titled, "More voters than eligible adults? Group makes dubious claim about California."

According to page 56 of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's 2016 report titled, "The Election Administration and Voting Survey," which is publicly available online, California did have a 100.85 percent voter registration rate in 2016, but that's with a combination of California's active and inactive registered voters. Counting only California's active registered voters, California had a voter registration rate of 80 percent in 2016.

According to Chapter 5: Voter List Maintenance available on the California Secretary of State website, "'Inactive voters' are defined as registered voters who have been sent a Section 8 notice and have failed to respond. In California, this includes voters for whom the post office has returned a VNC because the voter has moved."

It continues, "What is important to keep in mind is that 'inactive' voters under the California Elections Code and the NVRA are registered voters, eligible to vote in an election, provided the voter confirms residency at the polling place. Under California law, however, voters in the Inactive Voter File are not mailed election materials, and are not taken into consideration in determining the number of signatures required for qualification of candidates or ballot measures, precinct size, or other election administration processes."

If an individual from the inactive voter list does show up to confirm residency and vote, that vote is placed back into the active voter registration list.

Meuser made no mention of the inactive voter list nor his stance on the classification during the meeting on Friday.