The L.A. County Registrar is Lying...And Blaming Voters and Pollworkers to boot...
UPDATED With Link to Petition Demanding ALL Votes Be Counted! Please Sign It!
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2008, 9:16pm PT  

"A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted."
- Article II, California Constitution
Added overwhelmingly by California voters in Prop 43, on March 5, 2002

Election Code requirements "shall be liberally construed so that the real will of the electors will not be defeated by any informality or failure to comply with all of the provisions of the law."
- California Elections Code, Sec. 19001

Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, says in a report delivered to the County Board of Supervisors yesterday on the "Double Bubble" debacle from last Super Tuesday's Presidential Primary Election, that he believes it will be "impossible to determine with absolute certainty" the intentions of some 100,000 non-partisan voters who chose to vote in either the Democratic or American Independent Party's open primary, despite selections having been made for one of the Presidential candidates on their ballots.

The intent on almost every one of those uncounted ballots CAN be determined with absolute certainty. So, allow me to put this as nicely as I can: Dean Logan is full of shit...

Unfortunately, I don't have time to cover this in any detail tonight, but I'd like to get it out there. So, please see our detailed report on this absolutely insane issue as we reported it last week, and then peruse Logan's report [PDF] as given to the Board of Supes yesterday.

I'll try to get back to this as soon as I can, to cover it in detail, but for now, suffice it to say I think the report is absolute bullshit. Voter intent can be determined in almost every case, as I see it, if they bother to try, and I'm simply stunned to read this report.

I'm doing my best to hold my tongue for the moment on what I think should happen to former Registrar Conny McCormack, who implemented this absurd ballot scheme, and Dean Logan, who is now making excuses for it (and largely blaming voters and poll workers in the bargain).

As I say, more on all of this when I can get to it...and otherwise cool down a bit.

UPDATE 2/13/08, 12:42pm PT: I've cooled down a bit. But not much. So as I spend more time on this, for the moment behind the scenes rather than in front, here's a bit more detail to clarify Dean Logan's case, and to confirm that he is completely and utterly full of shit. From the right-wing San Diego Tribune:

SACRAMENTO – Nearly 50,000 independent voters who tried to cast ballots in last week's Democratic or American Independent primaries won't have their presidential votes counted, the top elections official in Los Angeles County said Monday.

Registrar Dean Logan said those improperly filled out ballots are impossible to count by hand because of the county's complicated voting system, which requires crossover voters to fill in two “bubbles”: one to choose a political party and one to indicate their presidential choice.

“There's no way in looking at the ballot to discern voters' intent,” Logan said after releasing preliminary findings about the flawed voting system.

Dean Logan is lying. Almost every currently miscounted ballot can likely have the voter intent discerned precisely, if someone bothers to count them.

It's absolutely outrageous for him to try and blame voters and poll-workers for this problem, and suggest that the problem was bad education for them.

It's equally outrageous for clowns who support unverifiable electronic voting machines to use this incident to claim voters are being "disenfranchised by paper ballots" here. No, they are not being disenfranchised by paper ballots, they are being disenfranchised by horrible election administration by horrible election directors like LA County's former Registrar Conny McCormack and LA County's current acting Registrar Dean Logan, who are acting like the failed former San Diego County Registrar Mikel Haas (brother of Don Haas whose comment I've linked to above).

These folks have a despicable, and apparently continuing, habit of disenfranchising voters and then blaming the voters for it. It's simply outrageous and infuriating. And again, I'll hold my tongue any further for now concerning what I think of such folks.

For the moment, virtually ever ballot can --- and should --- be counted and counted accurately...

Each precinct where a Non-Partisan (NP, otherwise known as "Decline to State" or DTS) voter chose to "cross-over" and vote in either the Democratic or American Ind. Party primary will have a notation of that cross-over in the poll book, as poll workers were instructed to cross off "NP" next to their name, and write in either DEM or AI.

Most polling places had no NP voters who chose to "cross-over" and vote AI, but many who chose to vote DEM. If so, one can count every single NP ballot that had a vote for president on it as a vote in the Democratic primary.

If there happens to be one or two voters who chose to vote AI (as unlikely as that seems), then fine, you can statistically subtract X% of votes from each NP Democratic vote if you wish and still end up drastically lowering the current error rate where as many as 100,000 votes are currently recorded in error as "no vote" for President.

This is incredible.

For those who remain unclear on this, LA County uses a paper ballot with no names on it. Only bubbles. (See photo at left)

The ballot must be slipped into a template booklet which gives the names that each bubble represents and the voter uses a supplied ink pen to fill in the bubble through the template (see graphic below).

McCormack, in her wisdom, decided to use the same bubbles on the ballot for Presidential candidates for both the Dem and AI parties. So the only way to know for certain which party a Presidential vote was for, if only looking at the ballot card and seeing a vote in one of the Presidential bubbles, is to see which of the two parties was selected in the OTHER ballot selection for Dem or AI. Many voters didn't know to fill out that choice.

But if you check the poll roster at each precinct, one can determine with near 100% accuracy in almost all cases, which way the ballots were intended to be counted! No matter what Logan is now trying to tell people.

To get a better idea of how the InkaVote system works, see this Step-by-Step (with photos) guide from the CA SoS website, or this ad [PDF], from the LA County Registrar, promising that "InkaVote Plus is here to protect your vote"!

UPDATE 2/13/08, 3:10pm PT: Attorneys from the Courage Campaign sent a 3-page letter to the LA County Board of Supervisors calling for all ballots to be counted, in response to Logan's report claiming it would be "impossible." That letter is here [PDF], and includes this notable graf:

In response to the Florida electoral fiasco in 2000, California voters overwhelmingly pass Proposition 43 on March 5, 2002. Proposition 43 inserted one simple line into Article II of the California Constitution: A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted. (Emphasis added.) Further, state law clearly states that when reviewing votes and voting systems, Election Code requirements "shall be liberally construed so that the real will of the electors will not be defeated by any informality or failure to comply with all of the provisions of the law." (See Cal. Elec. Code Sec. 19001.)

The group has created an online petition calling on Logan to count every vote. The BRAD BLOG strongly urges you to sign it!

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