(UPDATE) L.A. registrar to re-examine 94,000 DTS ballots

Update [2008-2-7 4:49:32 by baudelairien]: After more than 500 complaints were lodged with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office, acting Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan ordered an examination of more than 94,000 non-partisan ballots that may not have been counted. Of 189,000 votes cast by nonpartisans in Los Angeles County, only half marked a redundant bubble indicating they were voting in a party primary. Ballots without the extra bubble marked were initially uncounted. The confusing ballot has been compared to Florida's infamous "Butterfly Ballot" of the presidential elections of 2000. (sources: Los Angeles Times, L.A. Daily News)

(Original story)"100s of thousands" of votes may be voided in CA: According to the L.A. Daily News, a confusing ballot design in Los Angeles County could cause hundreds of thousands of votes cast by independent voters to be discarded. Parallels are being drawn to the Florida's infamous "Butterfly Ballot" of the presidential elections of 2000.

Update [2008-2-7 4:49:32 by baudelairien]: In contrast to an earlier statement by California Secretary of State spokesperson Kate Folmar that "very few" problems were reported, 500 complaints were reported as registered with Bowen's office by midday Wednesday. Others who tried to report problems said hotlines set up by the Secretary of State and the Los Angeles County Registrar were "swamped". The Los Angeles Times also received complaints. Acting Registrar Logan said he will try to determine whether uncounted ballots could make a difference in the assignment of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. "If we can clearly identify the voters' intent, we will seek legal authority to count those votes."

(Original story) Over 750,000 voters in Los Angeles County registered their party affiliation as "decline-to-state" (DTS) and may not have had their votes counted if they failed to fill in a bubble (in addition to choice of candidate) indicating that they wanted their votes counted for the Democratic primary. Voters who were registered as declined-to-state had to specifically ask for a Democratic ballot, and some overlooked or were confused by the redundant requirement to fill in the bubble. The machines that tabulate the vote do not count ballots that do not have the extra bubble filled, accepting them without error as an "undervote". Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation said that "hundreds of thousands of ballots" could be affected.

Observers overseas and closer to home are describing the situation as a "voting irregularity" and comparing the "double bubble" ballot to Florida's infamous "butterfly ballot" from the 2000 Presidential election which confused some Gore voters into casting their ballot for Pat Buchanan, and which may have influenced the outcome in Florida, leading to the election of George W. Bush.

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky DelGadillo asked for an investigation, urging California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Registrar Logan to "do everything within their power to  see that every vote is counted. [...] Los Angeles' non-partisan voters must not be disenfranchised because of a confusing ballot design."

Rick Jacobs, chairman of the progressive organization, Courage Campaign, described the situation as "Florida in Los Angeles County," and called on Dean Logan, acting Registrar-Recorder of Los Angeles County, to do a 5% manual recount to determine the extent of the problem. He  asked affected voters to contact the Courage Campaign.

Resources for affected voters:


  • Contact the Courage Campaign: info (at) couragecampaign.org

  • Write Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo: Rocky.Delgadillo (at) lacity.org -- or call his office: (213) 978-8100

  • Contact the Election Protection Coalition at 1-866-OUR-VOTE


Tags: Ballots, California, Florida, Independents, Los Angeles, voting, voting irregularities (all tags)

Comments

26 Comments

Clinton won, must be fraud

The article is from before the primary, as you can tell with all the interviewees saying "could be a problem." You might want to wait for a little more information before crying "butterfly ballot!"

by souvarine 2008-02-06 01:47PM | 0 recs
The article was updated today...

The link to LA Observed is from yesterday, during the primary. And the links to the Guardian and the Huffington Post are from today.

Looks like people saw this coming, but they didn't do anything about it. I first learned about it today when I read a post on a bulletin board from someone whom it affected.

I'm not crying fraud. But I am crying honor voter intent, which is the same way I felt about Florida in 2000.

by baudelairien 2008-02-06 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The article was updated today...

LA should most certainly honor voter intent, but from reports here during the election the problem did not appear to be as bad as it seemed.

As suggested in your diary it is fairly easy to check and correct for. A check of the undervote or manually counting a sample of ballots should show the extent of any problem. CA has paper ballots, and according to the description the undercounted presidential votes would be clear in a manual count.

The problem with your diary, and the reason I don't think voter intent is your real concern, is repeating the "100s of thousands" speculation. Neither you nor the person quoted have any idea if there even is a problem, you are throwing around large numbers just to encourage hysteria.

As with the "NH fraud!" hysteria, this is really just about trying to taint Clinton's win. It seems to be a favorite tactic of Obama supporters like the Courage campaign, and it puts their integrity in question.

by souvarine 2008-02-06 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The article was updated today...

Agreed, seems to me that out of 750,000 DTS voters (the total) an unspecified percentage got screwed/screwed it up. That could be as little as 5,000 or as high as 100,000 or anywhere.

Still a statistical sampling recount 5% to see the extent of the issue seems like a good idea.

If the polls don't go the way you want them to, or even as the pollster suggest and the first thing you think of is "FRAUD!" perhaps you should rethink it.

by MNPundit 2008-02-06 02:56PM | 0 recs
Clinton won California by a secure margin

Because of the margin of Clinton's victory in California, these votes wouldn't have changed the plurality, whoever they fell for.

But it's not right that they're not being counted. And as you point out, it's a problem that's easy to correct -- if enough people stand up and demand a correction. If no one says anything, that's not going to happen, and this ballot may stand as a precedent.

I didn't vote for Gore, but I was outraged about what happened in Florida. Hysteria is counter-productive, but when votes are casually discarded, people ought to be indignant, whomever they ultimately support.

P.S. New Hampshire? I blame the pollsters.

by baudelairien 2008-02-06 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton won California by a secure margin

these votes wouldn't have changed the plurality

yes but because they were concentrated in LA County and therefore in several CDs, they could very well impact the distribution of delegates.

by desmoulins 2008-02-06 05:03PM | 0 recs
Whatever

Where was this "courageous" organization when millions of Democratic voters were disenfranchised in Michigan and Florida this year?

Ho hum. An Obama front group is whining, crying and complaining because their candidate lost in California. There is not even a hint of an allegation that any laws were broken. And, in any event, I'm not going to lose any sleep if some "Democrats for a day" were not able to vote in our Party's primary. They shouldn't be allowed to do so in the first place. But, if they are allowed to, then it should be on them, and on the opportunistic campaign that encourages such carpetbaggers to influence our Party's primaries, to see to it that they fill out their ballots in accordance with the law.

by freemansfarm 2008-02-06 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Whatever

disenfranchised my ass, why the fuck weren't you complaining before Hillary won them both?

and either way they weren't disenfranchised, they broke party rules, and had their delegates stripped.\

and speaking of carpetbaggers, clinton is one.

she didn't live in new york but she sure did campaign like she did in 2000.

by Soltare 2008-02-06 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Whatever

Good to see your personal feelings don't affect your sense of fairness.

by souvarine 2008-02-06 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Whatever

umm in case you werent around then, most people DID complain before the votes were cast.  People started complaining way back in june/july, myself included

by sepulvedaj3 2008-02-06 02:15PM | 0 recs
Logic, rules, carpetbaggers

"Captains Courageous" apparently has no objection to the disenfranchisement of registered, Democratic party voters in Florida and Michigan. But they do have an objection to the alleged disenfranchisement of these California voters. In my opinion, that is inconsistent. How about in yours? Whether I complained about the Michigan and Florida rulings, before or after Hillary won those States, has no bearing on the hypocracy of this organization. Calling the kettle black won't make the pot white.

As for the "pary rules," there weren't any to break. The DNC made a provisional decision, not a "rule," that the delegagtes would not be seated. And, in any event, the Florida primary was scheduled by the Republican-controlled State government, not the Florida Democratic party. And, furthermore, the actual Democratic primary VOTERS in Florida and Michigan had no say whatsoever in the scheduling decisions. Presumably, a "courageous" grassroots organization would be concerned about that, not about Howard Dean, the other bureaucratic nabobs at the DNC, and their so-called "rules."

Finally, Hillary was called into New York to run for Senate to stop arch scumbag Rudy Giuliani from winning the seat. Everyone understood that she was moving to the State to establish a residency for the explicit purpose of running for Senator. The dirtbag Republicans certainly did not refrain from calling her a "carpetbagger," but she drove little Rudy out of the race, handily beat his replacement, and won re-election going away. Us New Yorkers like having Bill and Hillary living in our State, Hillary representing us as Senator (and soon as President), and Bill having his offices in our City.

You, on the other hand, can go join the "bravehearts" in weeping about a bunch of crypto-Republican spoilers whose cynical votes were not counted because they, and the no-tactic-too-sleazy campaign which sponsored them, were too stupid to fill out their forms properly. I say throw the so-called "ballots" away and good riddance to bad rubbish!

by freemansfarm 2008-02-06 02:26PM | 0 recs
Rudy's prostate and your principles

Cancer perhaps had a small role in driving Giuliani from the race, or did Clinton's move to New York cause that too?

Not having delegates seated is not the same as being denied the opportunity to vote.  And those delegates would have been seated had primary dates not been moved up.  The story is more complicated than that in Florida, I admit, but that is the story in Michigan, and I live here, where it was a blatant Clinton power play by two of her biggest backers in the state.  (I threw my support to Clinton since Edwards dropped out).

You are full of it regarding the 'rules'. Whatever they were called the meaning was clear, clearly telegraphed, voted on  by duly elected party members in accord with party rules and accepted by all concerned at the time the decision was made.  Are you suggesting those votes were also illegitimate because they produced an outcome you don't like?  Michigan and Florida could have tried to be one of the first four and declined, according to Brazile.  They declined.  It's like a citizen deciding after an election that they did not like the outcome and asking to be added to the ballot.

Good thing you are not a party strategist if you are comfortable saying good riddance to those LA ballots (why in scare quotes, are they not real ballots?) that represent new votes for Democrats.  Do you realize Ds are < 50 % of voters in this country?  Shall we stop at 39-40% and say "these are the real votes we care about"?  Hear your pain, don't understand.

Finally, even if one accepted everything you say about the unfairness toward Michigan and Florida you shred your credibility with your attitude on this LA issue (about which we admittedly know little and which may not be as bad as the diarist alleges).  The better argument is that FL, MI, and those wanting to cast votes in LA should be respected.

Your partisanship puts the lie to your appeal to principle.

by Trond Jacobsen 2008-02-06 03:04PM | 0 recs
Rudy, rules and partisanship

Let's start with Rudy. He claimed to have cancer. What he probably had was a pre-cancerous condition typical for men his age. Two days after the sole treatment he recieved for his "cancer," he was running around the city, going to Yankees games, attending meetings, giving interviews, even marching in a parade. Rudy Giuliani PRETENDED to have "cancer" as an excuse to drop out because he knew that Hillary was going to clean his clock. All New York Democrats know this, by the way. As additional proof, allegedly cancer-ridden tried to extend his term of office, in direct opposition to our new City Charter, as mayor after 9/11, lobbying the State legislature to either waive the term limit or to extend his term of office. And, of course, poor, little sick Rudy now runs around the country hustling his sleazy books and corrupt cmpanies, and, at least in theory, running for president.

As for the "rules," you are simply wrong. The convention will decide for itself whether to seat the delegates, even Howard Dean has said so. The DNC simply does not have the power to make a hard and fast "rule" that binds the convention. This has all been hashed out on previous threads here and elsewhere. And, once again, you are simply wrong about Florida. The State government, controlled by the Republicans, set the date for the primary, not the State Democratic party.

Next, me and my principles or my consistency is not the issue. The isssue is why whenever Clinton wins an election, there is always some allegedly neutral, but actually pro-Obama group, waiting in the wings to cry fraud. But when Obama wins, these same groups have nothing to say.

Even Markos pointed this out on Daily Kos. When Hillary beat the polls in NH and Nevada, the cry of fraud was heard throughout the land, but when Obama beat the polls in SC there was not a peep.

Similarly, in this instance, some "Democrat for a Day" voters have allegedly been disenfrancised in LA. They were almost certainly Obama voters, as only his campaign is openly inviting outsiders to help pick our candidate for us. So this self-styled "courageous" group gins up a big fuss. But did they make a big fuss in Florida? In LA, the voters only needed to follow the instructions to have their votes counted. In Florida, the voters had no chance at all, because the DNC and the State Republicans shut them out entirely. One would think, of the two circumstances, that the latter is the more egregious. But, to these "neutral," "good government" groups, that is apparently not the case.

And that is the "partisanship" that is at issue here, not mine.

Finally, I am fully aware that we need to attract Independent and even Republican voters to win in the general election. My position is that they should not be allowed to determine who our  candidate is. That decision should be made by Democrats, for Democrats.

by freemansfarm 2008-02-06 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Rudy, rules and partisanship

His doctor indicated he had cancer for which he was treated in the standard manner when caught early.   His father died of prostate cancer.  I said maybe it played a role in his decision.  Your said he "PRETENDED". I suggest you carry on that argument with his doctor, where your medical expertise can find an informed audience.

Before both primaries were scheduled, this decision by the committee was known and understood.  How do we know? Because, for instance, Debbie Dingell lobbied unsuccessfully to change the outcome.  "Rule", decision, ruling, opinion, as I said, whatever you call it, the understanding was shared and neither state participated in the established process to become one of the pre 2/5 states.  I assume you read Brazile's account in the NYT?  Many other states complied and participated in that little action we had on Tuesday.  But Michigan and Florida decided they were better than those states, that it was OK to try and dilute their impact on the process.  

That the convention could seat these delegates is obvious and I do not deny that they could.  Should they reward state parties that ignore the unambiguous and widely understood intent of the DNC regarding primary timing?  I am not saying they must not, but it is at least a colorable argument, one that is far more reasonable than you allow.  Recall the environment when this went down, before it looked like a way to drum up some easy delegates for Clinton.  It looked like every state was going to move to January, and Iowa and New Hampshire into December, and so on.  That madness had to be stopped and some order to the process was needed.  There was a process.  When I voluntarily agree to join an organization I assume the responsibility of living by the norms and "rules" of the organization or face the consequences, or else why join?  Fundamentally this is a process not candidate outcome question.

I said Florida was different, as you appear to have missed.  The reason is the GOPers were playing dirty pool (though the Ds in the legislature overwhelmingly supported it, not that they could have stopped it).  As you know, pro-Clinton power brokers here in Michigan spearheaded this initiative, understanding the position of the DNC, and the D-controlled House supported the move.  Perhaps they should have chosen to be another 2/5 state?  Or to have lobbied to be one of the first four?  Why didn't they?  Should we look the other way, because it helps Clinton?

My point about principles was that your sturm and drang about disenfranchised voters in FL and MI rings hollow given the way you describe the situation in California.  I do think good arguments exist for closed primaries, for the same reasons you provide, but that was not the type of primary held in California.  If you think it should have been, your complaint is with the legislature and Bowen, not me.  Even if you have an argument could make some sense, I noted the reason you give lacks credibility, at least to me, because of the way you talked about these voters in LA as if they were lower than dirt because they dared to vote in the D primary as the rules permitted.

And about those voters.  It seems clear that you cannot imagine independents being excited by a Democrat and wanting to vote for him/her.  Doing so invests them, if only marginally, in a Democratic candidate and our message. I think that is a very good thing and a path that can lead to moving them into the party or voting consistently with the party.  I do not think there is any evidence that these were GOPers posing as RTS to mess with our primary, but I suppose that is possible.  We both recognize we need to appeal to some of these folks to win.  Your message in this particular case and circumstance could not be better designed to work against that outcome, thus suppressing support for our nominee whoever they are.

Your point about the Obama campaign not being principled on these questions is less than irrelevant.  As non-germane as it is possible for a string of sentences to be.  I made no claim about their motives or behavior and I am not an Obama supporter.  I acknowledge we really have little idea at this point about the extent of situation in LA.  But the "rule" that discounts these voters in LA in your eyes is far more picayune than the one you would like to see ignored in the other cases.  And that is true whether it was 100000 or 1000 and whether or not it would have changed the outcome.  By definition, a principle is applied consistently, otherwise it is sophistry.

by Trond Jacobsen 2008-02-06 06:28PM | 0 recs
My, how you do go on. . .

. . .but I'll try to keep it brief.

(1) Rudy SAID his doctor said he had cancer. You have no idea what his doctor really said. If you want to take the word of an opportunistic fascist, be my guest. I don't. You also ignored all the other circumstantial evidence presented suggesting that Rudy was lying.

(2) The voters in Florida and Michigan have been disenfranchised. And it is not their fault. (I don't want to argue about rules and the Fla. legislature and so on, although you are in fact wrong on all these issues.) Now, the question is what are the self-proclaimed "courageous" defenders of the right of all citizens to vote doing about it? And the answer is: nothing.

(3) And the reason that the answer is nothing has zero to do with Donna Brazille, Howard Dean, the widely understood and eminently fair decision of the DNC and so forth. No, the reason these Obama-front groups are doing nothing about it is because the voters in FL and MI are Clinton voters.

(4) And that makes them hypocrits.

(5) Whether or not I am also a hypocrit will not change point 4 in any way. That is basic logic.

(6) I stand by my statement that only Democrats should pick Democratic candidates.

(7) Despite my views expressed in (6), these LA voters were allowed to participate, (again, unlike the MI and FL voters), but screwed up their paperwork. So, it is their own fault (again, unlike the voters in MI and FL), if their votes don't count. As I said, I shan't be losing any sleep over it.

by freemansfarm 2008-02-06 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: My, how you do go on. . .

I'll keep this brief so you can make it all the way through.

Now you're saying in (1) the doctor lied; take it up with him. Your circumstantial "evidence" is that he did a bunch of stuff after the surgery.  Umm...that's normal but it doesn't mean his fear played no role, which is all I suggested was a possibility. Who cares why he dropped out?

I never blamed the voters in my state or Florida (2).

If in the last half of (2), you are referring to Obama perfidy, it is irrelevant to my argument, along (3), (4), (5).

It sounds in (6) like you are disappointed by the California scheme.  So sorry.

In (7) you are again celebrating disenfranchisement out of one side of your mouth while decrying in with the other.  The very definition of hypocrite, though I am glad it does not interfere with your sleep.

Make it through?

by Trond Jacobsen 2008-02-06 07:11PM | 0 recs
making it through

(1) Basic reading comprehension: I wrote that RUDY LIED about what the doctor said, not that the doctor lied. Couldn't you "make it through" even my first point? Rudy did not have "surgery," he had a minor treatment. The "stuff" he did after it was no less strenuous than the race he dropped out of. And, a year and a half later, he was so healthy that he wanted to break the law so he could stay in office. In short, Rudy lied about his illness to provide an excuse for ducking Hillary. And, it's more than a little disingenous for you to ask "who cares" why he dropped out this late in the thread. I mentioned it in response to a post (now deleted) which called Hillary a "carpetbagger." In any event, if you think it is irrelevant, why do you keep arguing about it?

(2) I don't care what you did or didn't say about who is to blame for the mass disenfranchisement in Florida, nor about whether my criticism of the Obama campaign is or is not "relevant" to your "argument," nor whether you think I am "disappointed" by the CA scheme, nor, to repeat,whether you think I am a hypocrite or not, nor even less your concern for my sleep schedule. Your statements about Florida, your view of the Obama campaign, and your views of me, are simply not at issue.

(3) What IS at issue is the hypocracy of the fake, "independent" groups that run to the rescue of a few Obama voters, but don't care about the millions of Hillary voters. I think I have established their hypocracy. Certainly, none of the irrelevancies you continue to harp on make any difference in regards to that question.

by freemansfarm 2008-02-07 04:21AM | 0 recs
Prev. comment didn't deserve a zero. n/t

by bowiegeek 2008-02-06 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Prev. comment didn't deserve a zero. n/t

I'm supporting Hillary Clinton because it's not about whom you want to have a beer with: it's about whom you trust to drive you home.

That is a great quote

by sonofdonkeykong 2008-02-06 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Prev. comment didn't deserve a zero. n/t

I don't get it. What does it have to do with ending the war, changing the priorities of our tax and trade policies, cleaning up the endemic corruption of our elections and political system, or reducing carbon emissions?

by desmoulins 2008-02-06 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Prev. comment didn't deserve a zero. n/t

It has to do with choosing the known quantity over choosing a leap of faith. She's made her platform very clear on all of those counts. But it still comes down to: who would be the best president on day one?

by bowiegeek 2008-02-06 08:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Prev. comment didn't deserve a zero. n/t

I'm not sure what the rules are, but the language is pretty appalling. (And part of a pattern that's not useful for discussion.)

by OrangeFur 2008-02-06 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Prev. comment didn't deserve a zero. n/t

It was a little harsh, but I think it's a natural reaction against a lot of what we've been seeing. Clinton has ads run against her by the courage campaign for not being a leader. She gets slimed in every state that she wins for having committed some kind of fraud. And meanwhile people sit on their high horse and say Florida and Michigan don't count. Well, so much for giving a shit about voters. Maybe it's only people who vote for Obama that count. It's the way the press seems to spin it.

by bowiegeek 2008-02-06 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: &quot;100s of thousands&quot; of votes may be

People who want to vote in a Democratic primary should register as Democrats. DTS voters in CA couldn't vote in the Republican primary at all. If they don't want to be Democrats, but want to vote in our primary, they need to read the instructions on their ballot carefully.

by LakersFan 2008-02-06 02:45PM | 0 recs
let's look into it

Clinton beat Obama in Los Angeles County by 55% to 41%, or about 168,000 votes before considering any impact of this possible disenfranchisement.

Here's another account of what's going on:

http://wwwwakeupamericans-spree.blogspot .com/2008/02/groups-to-mount-legal-chall enge-to-los.html

by mboehm 2008-02-06 03:03PM | 0 recs
Many people did contact the Secretary of State

According to a story just published in the L.A. Times many people did contact them.


Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office said her election hotline had received nearly 500 complaints by midday Wednesday, most from decline-to-state voters who had tried to cast ballots in the Democratic primary.

I'll update the story with the details.

by baudelairien 2008-02-06 10:50PM | 0 recs

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