About This Report
This report was prepared by Election Integrity Project, an independent, non-partisan citizen organization whose mission is to advocate for fair and honest California elections. In addition to researching the state’s compliance with state and federal election laws, EIP’s activities include recruiting, training and deploying poll observers. Observer training includes overview of state and federal election law and the manner in which observations are to be documented for evidentiary purposes. EIP also purchases, processes and analyzes county voter registration lists. In both cases, EIP reports its findings to county elections officials and the SOS for investigation. Finally, EIP follows up with the election officials to determine what action has been taken. For more information about EIP, please visit electionintegrityproject.com
An owner entrusts her luxury car to a parking attendant. The attendant, negligently or intentionally, parks the car in an unsecured street location, leaving the windows open, all four doors unlocked, and the key in the ignition.
Will someone see that this car is unsecured? Will someone reach in and steal valuables? Will someone jump in, turn the key and peel off? Or, will the car sit there undisturbed, protected only by the honor system?
Welcome to California’s elections. Each of the following “unlocked doors” creates a potential for mistakes, election crimes and voter disenfranchisement. Yet, in a state with the nation’s largest voting population, these doors remain—by negligence or by design–wide open.
In California, the attendants relied upon to watch the election system are failing its citizens. Only volunteer groups like Election Integrity Project (EIP) are carefully monitoring California’s elections to ensure that each vote is lawfully cast and accurately counted. Because its system is left wide open, as you will discover in these pages, every Californian’s vote–as well as 55 Electoral College votes—is at risk.
This report has illustrated that California’s election system has many vulnerabilities, including no “single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive, computerized, statewide voter registration list,” poor NVRA list maintenance, non-compliance with statutes protecting lawful voters, and reasonably suspected voting fraud. The report also shows that key election officials are roadblocks to election integrity. Whether this stems from negligence or design, or a misguided central focus on “voter experience”, the result is the same: Corruption. The injury to lawful voters is patent.
On NVRA Section 8 compliance, the SOS and some counties (notably Los Angeles) do not appear to be making a “reasonable effort” to remove ineligible registrants. The state has exacerbated the situation with a new “on-line” registration system that lacks sufficient safeguards. Neither are the maintenance efforts by the counties “uniform”, as required by law, leaving eligible citizens bearing an unequal risk of disenfranchisement. Nor are some elections officials satisfactorily responsive to the questions and concerns of candidates and citizens. EIP will continue to purchase, analyze, submit and follow up on irregularities, but this comes at high personal financial expense and thousands of hours of volunteer time fighting a failed system defended and administered with their tax dollars.
EIP findings also raise reasonable concerns about if, when, and how the much-needed VoteCal database will be completed and implemented. The state’s initial inability to comply with HAVA, the settlement termination of its first contractor, resultant delays, the track record of its new contractor’s parent company, CGI, and the possible release of VoteCal earmarked HAVA funds for other purposes calls into question the will and ability of California government to protect the lawful voters franchise.
EIP understands that NVRA allows individuals who believe they have suffered harm due to state or local government officials’ failure to properly implement the NVRA to sue a state or local agency. EIP believes it has evidence of such harm, for example, potentially 3,274 disenfranchised California voters. This because legitimate votes in at least one election were effectively “cancelled” due to the 3,274 unlawful votes enabled by inaccurate and untimely list maintenance. EIP has provided written notice to the Secretary of State of these failures throughout 2013-14, but has not received a single response that would indicate efforts have been taken to remedy the problems noticed. In fact, the opposite is true: California’s Chief Election Officer has taken the position that, according to the law, she has no “line authority” to do so.
The people of the Golden State are entitled to have confidence that their elections are compliant with the law. As EIP continues to work toward that goal, it hopes this report will draw attention to the corrupted California election system and thereby have a significant impact on improving the integrity of the state’s elections. If so, it will put California lawful voters back in the driver’s seat.
For those readers who believe there is no such thing as “voting fraud”, EIP respectfully refers them to the January 28, 2014 conviction of California State Senator Roderick Wright on five counts of felony fraudulent voting. Wright faces, among other punishments, eight years four months in state prison. Similar cases can be found across the nation of persons–even elected officials–perpetrating such fraud.