Paper ballots were meaningless: Closest election in California history illustrates major flaws in state election statutes, prompts calls for overdue reform, sends disturbing invitation to fraudsters...
Over the weekend state Assembly Member John Pérez called off his request for a statewide "recount" in the state Controllers primary race, despite the results from the June primary remaining the closest in a statewide race in California history. The vast majority of ballots never received a review by human eyeballs. [See NOTE at bottom of article to explain our use of quotes around the word "recount".]
A partial hand-count of paper ballots in two different counties --- and calls from fellow Democrats to give up the attempt to assure Election Integrity --- was largely all that would occur before the Pérez campaign decided throw in the towel and toss their support behind fellow Democrat Betty Yee for this November's general election.
"While I strongly believe that completing this process would result in me advancing to the general election," Pérez said in a statement posted to his campaign website, "it is clear that there are significant deficiencies in the process itself which make continuing the recount problematic."
Yee had reportedly defeated Pérez by just 481 votes out of well over 4 million ballots cast --- a margin of approximately 1/100th of one percent --- during the statewide primary on June 3rd, securing second place behind comfortable first-place finisher, Republican Ashley Swearengin, and a coveted spot on the November ballot. California now has a "Top-Two" primary system, where the two highest vote-getters of any party go on to face each other in the general election.
There is no automatic, state-sponsored "recount" for statewide races in CA, no matter how close they are found to be after tabulation by the state's hodge-podge of oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer tabulators in each county. If such a post-election count is desired, a candidate or any voter, may request one and pay for it themselves --- though they are refunded the fees if the results end up changing.
The battle for second place in the primary race, and the right to appear on this November's ballot to become the state's next chief financial officer, resulted in what the Sec. of State's office had described as "uncharted territory".
It left counties scrambling, politicians scratching their heads, media trying to figure out how "recounts" even work in this state, while also revealing a number of tremendous flaws in the state's "recount" statutes, some of which we've attempted to warn about at The BRAD BLOG over recent years...with few in Sacramento bothering to take notice.
They seem to be noticing some of those flaws now, however, even as Perez abruptly ended the count over the weekend, after finding just a handful of votes changing in his favor during expensive, partial hand-counts in two counties.
While the situation revealed serious shortcomings in the state's "recount" statutes, it has also revealed that, at least unless the laws are changed, it may be a great time to steal an election in the Golden State, with very little likelihood of detection...
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