More than half a million ballots remain to be processed and tallied from California's June 7th Presidential Primary, and thousands of those votes have just been saved. On today's BradCast we speak to a citizen vote count observer in Los Angeles County who, through her diligence, just days ago, helped change L.A.'s process for determining which provisional ballots will be tallied, potentially saving tens of thousands of Democratic votes from being tossed in the bargain. [Audio link to complete show posted at bottom of this article.]
First today, the latest on the breaking news out of Turkey where an apparent terror attack had killed at least 28 people by air time today. Then, U.S. House Republicans release their final Benghazi report, for what it's worth, and Donald Trump continues to plummet in national polls, even as he remains quite competitive with Hillary Clinton in swing states.
Then, I'm joined by Julie Tyler, Los Angeles filmmaker and citizen vote count observer with Ballots for Bernie, to discuss how her oversight of on-going Provisional Ballot processing in L.A. has resulted in thousands of Democratic Primary votes cast by "No Party Preference" (NPP) voters being included in the tally, instead of being tossed out, as originally planned by election officials.
Indeed, The BRAD BLOG confirmed late last week with L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan that the County changed its process for determining voter intent after Tyler noticed that some provisional votes cast on Democratic ballot cards (instead of NPP-Democratic "cross over" cards) were being discarded under Logan's original process.
"I have further reviewed that category of provisional ballots," Logan said in a statement he sent via email, "and I am in agreement that the ballot card itself is sufficient to indicate voter intent to participate in the Democratic primary under the liberal construction clause of Elections Code 14312; therefore canvass staff has been instructed to process all such ballots as NPP-DEM cross over ballots and to prepare them for tabulation in subsequent updates as scheduled."
He went on to explain that, "while there is no process for a challenge to the determination of voter intent on provisional ballots, the election official does have to authority to identify the need for and to take corrective action during the canvass period. I am exercising that authority with regard to any provisional ballots processed and counted prior to the clarification listed above. Those ballots are being identified and will be re-processed as NPP-DEM cross over ballots and will reflect a vote cast in the Presidential contest, if any." Logan told me that some 2,801 ballots processed under the original interpretation of the rules were reprocessed under the new ones, and the more than 100,000 still-unprocessed provisionals in L.A. County will be verified and tallied under the new interpretation of the rules as well.
Tyler and others observers estimate some 60,000 votes may have been otherwise tossed, and tells me (though I haven't confirmed this part) that the CA Secretary of State is instructing other counties to similarly review their procedures for the inclusion of provisional Presidential votes from the June Democratic Primary, which Clinton still leads over Sanders, with the statewide margin very slowly narrowing and more than half a million ballots still untallied statewide as of today, in advance of the July 8 state certification deadline.
"It's our democracy, and it doesn't happen in a vacuum," Tyler tells me on today's show, while explaining how she noticed the problem initially and brought it to the attention of election officials, emphasizing "how important it is for observers to be on hand when these tallies are being done, for this very reason."
"It's not something that those people do over there. We have to take part. Frankly, I found the whole thing fascinating," she says, urging others to participate in this crucial aspect of our elections and noting "how empowering [it is] to know that, simply being there and observing, you can find errors and weigh in...Everybody has that power." Thank you, Julie! Couldn't agree more!
Finally today, we finish with our latest Green News Report on Volkswagen's $15 billion settlement with U.S. customers, as part of their emissions cheating scandal, Transcanada's $15 billion NAFTA complaint over U.S. rejection of the KeystoneXL pipeline, and much more...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)