Who checks out political candidates before they get on the ballot?

SACRAMENTO - A recent series of incidents involving candidates who don't live where they say they do revealed the truth about California elections -- that no one vets them before their names appear on the ballot.

"Much of our electoral system does rely on the honor system," said Steve Boilard, executive director of the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State University.

State Sen. Rod Wright potentially faces prison time after a jury in January determined he lied about living in Inglewood to win his senate seat.

In El Dorado County, a questionable residency claim led Judson Henry, a candidate for district attorney, to withdraw from the race last month.

This week, News10 discovered a problem with the home address in Yuba City listed by Sutter County district attorney candidate Kulvinder Singh. The house at 800 Chestnut Street is occupied by a man named Augustine Rodriquez, who has owned it since 1999; two next-door neighbors said they've never seen Singh before. The State Bar lists an address in Roseville for Singh, a home he's owned since 2008.

Despite being presented with evidence challenging his residency claim, Singh on Tuesday was still insisting that he lives in Yuba City.

Boilard said there is no government agency that pre-screens candidates who file documents that appear to be in order.

Because of the large number of candidates seeking office in California, he said, investigations are complaint-driven.

"There's an expectation that citizens perform a job," he said. "And that job is to not just go out and vote every two to four years. It's to pay attention to the choices and the candidates."

The California Secretary of State provides a voter complaint form to help root out wrongdoing, but the incidents in El Dorado and Sutter counties came to light through tips to the media.

"The system worked," Boilard said.


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