Demands Chain of Custody Docs Be Supplied as Allowed by Law, Time to Review Them; Asks for Accounting for $150,000 Counting Fee and the $6000 Immediate, Up Front Demand by Registrar Mikel Haas...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2006, 3:42pm PT  

Absolutely zero time at the moment for analysis or commentary. So see these previous stories first if you're not familiar with things up until now...

  • 7/7/06: "EXCLUSIVE: Manual Hand Count Requested in Busby/Bilbray Race! Registrar Quotes Fees for Count as High as $130,000!" FULL STORY...
  • 7/9/06: "Busby/Bilbray Registrar's Office Quotes Three Different Prices for Cost of Hand Count to Voters, Media; No Explanation Given for Disparities! (Fee Estimate Raised to $150,000, though Media Told Number Would be Half That!)" FULL STORY...
  • ...Before reading the following reply from CA50 voter, hand count requester Barbara Gail Jacobson. Her reply submitted this morning follows in full... (If I have a moment to update this item with commentary, analysis, or additional detail, I'll try to do so later.)

    July 11, 2006

    Honorable Mikel Haas
    San Diego County Registrar of Voters
    5201 Ruffin Road, Suite I
    San Diego, CA 92123

    Via Facsimile Transmittal
    (858) 694-2955
    and Hand Delivery

    Re: Manual Hand Count Request under the Election Recount Provision,
    Run-Off Election for US Representative, 50th District of California

    Dear Mr. Haas:

    Thank you for your letter dated July 7, 2006, which I received July 8, via Overnight Mail.

    First, I acknowledge that you have set a meeting at 8:00 am at your office on Wednesday, July 12 (tomorrow).

    I requested the public examination of a number of relevant materials in my original request for the manual hand count, dated July 5, 2006. You state that your staff is “continuing to examine the request to determine which materials are relevant to a recount.” Even cursory review of Secretary of State McPherson’s 2006 directives regarding the use of DRE voting technologies, and the relevant federal regulations, make it clear that all materials requested by me under the authority of Elections Code section 15630 are plainly and obviously relevant to a recount.

    Most critically, the relevance of chain-of-custody materials are simply beyond cavil. It is thus essential that I receive, at the outset of the recount and before any recount panels have been empanelled, all chain of custody documentation for all components of the voting systems used in this election, i.e., all optical scanners, all DRE units, all PCMCIA or other data storage cards, and all central tally servers. As you know, this constitutes a subset of the relevant voting materials which I have a right to review.

    It is imperative that we examine the chain of custody documentation in order to exercise meaningfully our rights under Election Code section 15622 and 15630. Without review of this information, we cannot analyze which precincts and which type of ballots should be counted first. This essential information is required at the outset of the process.

    In addition, the analysis of chain of custody logs will take time. Thus, a reasonable period of time must be allowed for me to make intelligent decisions on the order of the count. Surely the law does not require me to go to the meeting with the information requested in my July 5 letter sight unseen, and wade my way through it, while counting boards sit idle at my expense! Accordingly, I request that you delay the empanelling of recount boards until our examination of chain-of custody records is complete.

    Since we are told in your July 7 letter to deliver $6,000.00 to you by 3:00 pm today, we need to know by 2:00 pm today in writing if you will furnish this information in the manner and order I have requested. This written response may be by email or hand delivery, whichever is more convenient to you.

    Also, since there will be no need for a counting board until review of the requested documents is complete, we believe your initial check should be for only costs incurred in the preparation of documents produced. Please advise what the corrected amount for our 3:00 pm check should be, and how it was arrived at.

    On the subject of expenses, I understand that your office has quoted three different prices to have this hand count. I would like to review this with you shortly.

    Thank you again for your initial response, and for your anticipated assistance and cooperation.

    Yours truly,

    Barbara Gail Jacobson
    [address redacted for privacy]
    San Diego, CA XXXXX
    [email redacted for privacy]

    cc Gregory J. Smith, By Hand Delivery
    Clerk of San Diego County
    For the San Diego County Board of Supervisors
    1600 Pacific Highway, Room 260
    San Diego CA 92101