California officials sue Huntington Beach over voter ID law passed at polls

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California officials on Monday sued Huntington Beach over a new law that lets the city require voters to provide identification to cast ballots at the polls starting in 2026.

The state's Attorney General Rob Bonta said the measure approved by voters in the Southern California city of nearly 200,000 people stands in conflict with state law and could make it harder for poor, non-white, young, elderly and disabled voters to cast ballots.

State officials previously warned that the measure to amend the city's charter would suppress voter participation and are asking a court to block it from taking effect, he said.

“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 while announcing the lawsuit.

A message was sent to the city seeking comment.

The measure was passed by voters earlier this year in Huntington Beach, a city in Orange County dubbed “Surf City USA” that is known for its scenic shoreline dotted with surfers catching waves.

Huntington Beach's city council placed the voter ID measure on the ballot after taking a series of hotly contested decisions on topics ranging from flag flying to the removal of books from the public library’s children’s section over concerns about the appropriateness of materials. The moves were initiated by a politically conservative council majority, which took office in 2022, and have drawn scores of residents on all sides of issues to city meetings.

While Democrats outnumber Republicans in Orange County, the GOP is dominant in Huntington Beach with nearly 54,000 registered voters compared with 41,000 Democrats, county data shows.

The Associated Press