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bonta.JPGLegal immigrants who are not citizens will be able to serve as poll workers in California after Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that was heavily opposed by Republicans.

Brown's office announced Tuesday that he had signed Assembly Bill 817 by Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Alameda. It will allow election officials to appoint up to five noncitizens at each precinct to work as poll workers, as long as they meet all requirements for voter eligibility, except for U.S. citizenship.

Bonta argued that his bill would increase language access at polls for nearly 3 million voters with limited English.

"Without language assistance, these citizens face challenges in exercising their fundamental right to vote and casting an informed ballot," Bonta said Tuesday in a statement.

Republicans argued that there is limited language assistance a poll worker is allowed to provide and that only citizens should be included in the election process.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, in Assembly chambers in March. The Sacramento Bee / Hector Amezcua



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