Monday, March 17, 2008

Review, video and audio of Joint Legislative "double bubble" hearing

On Friday, March 7 I went to Los Angeles for the joint legislative hearing examining voting problems in the February 5 primary election, particularly the "double bubble" fiasco which resulted in 12,000 Angelenos' votes for president not being included in the certified election results.

The hearing was well-attended by legislators and election integrity activists alike. Lawmakers there (all Democrats) included Senators Jenny Oropeza, Ron Calderon, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Dean Florez and Assemblymember Curren Price. Florez said he was "shocked" that local registrars of voters have the power to decide whether to count votes in question, and suggested the law could be changed to give the Secretary of State authority to count votes in dispute at the county level.

Oropeza engaged in some tough questioning of Conny McCormack, and criticized the former L.A. county registrar for not seeking additional staff support from LA County supervisors when she was unable to meet the demands of the office. McCormack had testified that she had been unable to address the double-bubble problem prior to the election because the elections office was "consumed" by the Secretary of State's review of the county's InkaVote voting system. Oropeza stated that she thought there was a cultural, psychological problem within the elections department that prevented the former registrar from seeking out help when it was needed.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen testified that currently there is no form of instant communication available to get a message out to the precincts. Such a system would have been useful when reports started coming in early on Election Day from throughout the state that pollworkers were not giving decline-to-state voters partisan ballots to cast, as they were entitled to do.

The California State Senate has made this audio recording of the hearing available. Video recordings of testimony presented by several witnesses, including me, is available from the BradBlog web site. My written testimony is also available.

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