Poll inspectors, poll workers, and voters in Los Angeles County submitted testimonies this week regarding issues that came up during the California primary election that was held on June 7, 2016. Many of the testimonies submitted to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on June 14 involved provisional ballots.
— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) June 7, 2016
Almost 650,000 Californians registered to vote in just the last 45 days before the deadline. That was the highest statewide voter registration before a primary election that California had ever seen. Secretary of State Alex Padilla told CBS in Los Angeles that 17.9 million Californians, or 72 percent of the eligible voters in the state, were registered ahead of the recent primary. The Democratic Party itself gained nearly half of a million voters during this period.
LA County Registrar: ‘We Could See Some Record-Breaking Turnout Tomorrow’ « CBS Los Angeles https://t.co/J0AESQDIrp
— Dean Logan (@DCLogan) June 7, 2016
The largest increase in newly registered voters, according to CBS, was among Californians ages 18-29.
“I used to think it was a rigged system,” newly registered voter David Montes, told CBS. “I thought people were pre-selected.”
Brian Lis of Los Angeles, a Bernie Sanders activist, argued that in L.A. County it seems to him that it actually was rigged. He said that reports that came in from the election from voters, poll inspectors and poll workers showed four consistent trends in L.A. County’s primary election, including voters forcibly switched to a “Vote-by-Mail” status, but never receiving ballots, machines that either miscounted ballots or “errored out on certain candidates,” young voters given provisional ballots, and older voters’ party affiliations forcibly changed.
“You can go through the testimonies yourself: bit.ly/1UPXrMQ,” Lis writes, “Call me crazy but, I’d say that this election was being ripped right out from under us — stolen, by those in power who have a lot to lose by letting regular Americans speak their minds.”
A call was put out online, in part through a Facebook event created by Bernie Sanders Brigade and Count Our Votes California, urging all L.A. County voters who experienced issues at the polling site to testify in person before the L.A. County Board of Supervisors at their meeting held on Tuesday, June 14.
Melissa Michelson posted to the event page a link to what she says are the collected written testimonies that supplement live testimonies told to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors at their meeting. As of Friday morning, the transcripts from the meeting have not uploaded to the county’s website though.
Efrain Lopez posted a video of a presentation from the meeting to YouTube.
One striking point brought up during the presentation by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan is that some issues voters and poll workers faced were due to the conflicting deadlines for printing up voter rosters and voter registration. The rosters must be printed up 25 days before the election, but voter registration was allowed up to 15 days before the election. Logan voiced his frustration over this issue at the meeting. Logan told the supervisors that there will be at least two more weeks of sifting through mail-in and provisional ballots (ballots put into a special envelope indicating that the ballot needs to be verified) and that the certification for L.A. County is scheduled to be completed by July 1.
One poll inspector submitted a testimony recounting that while some voters who were not on the roster filled out provisional ballots, “others felt completely hopeless and left,” this included a family of four who were listed under the “Peace + Freedom” party, a party they had never even heard of. This poll inspector from Vote-by-Mail at Norwalk stated something even more startling though.
“Biggest concern, as inspector, came at the end of the night when my election summary reports were wrong. The crossover Dem ballot report read ZERO… It didn’t count any of them. Oddly enough, the NP summary read 40, instead of 1, the correct number of ballots. My best guess is that they somehow got added together… leaving out the voters’ choice for President… during a Presidential Primary!!!! I was horrified… & I didn’t want to sign it, knowing this reeked of election fraud. My supervisor had no advice & told me to use my best discretion.”
A poll inspector at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Sun Valley California stated on record that a “large percentage of young voters were not on the roster, or on the blue supplemental pages,” even though they provided the sample ballot that was sent to them in the mail and their instructions for voting that indicated that they had arrived a the correct polling location.
“By the end of the day, over 30% of the ballots cast in my precinct were provisional. Those votes need to be counted before we assign delegates.”
Marcia Martin, a poll inspector in Bell Gardens, stated that many voters in her precinct were listed as Vote-by-Mail, but claimed that they never got ballots and never signed up for that form of voting. She also said that voters who had voted in recent elections and who had not changed addresses were at the correct polling location, but didn’t show up on her roster, indicating that the issue of missing names on rosters wasn’t simply a deadline issue. She said that in her precinct, 22 percent of all voters had to cast their ballots provisionally.
Dominic Daniel Mananes, another poll inspector in L.A. County, also said that long-time registered Democrats showed up to vote to find that their party affiliations had been forcibly switched. Mananes also claimed an even stranger situation with the voting machines.
“Last Tuesday, I noticed when people voted for a certain Democratic presidential candidate, the machine would spit it back out with an ERROR stating ‘No Selection’- causing most poll workers to override it, which means the vote did not count.”
Mananes claims that most poll workers didn’t realize that there was a loophole around the error, which was to tell the voter to vote for at least one other item on the ballot, because ballots with “a certain Democratic presidential candidate” with no other selections marked, were showing up as having no selections made at all, causing some to wonder if the presidential selection ended up counting at all.
There were additional testimonies submitted by poll workers and voters. One poll worker submitted a picture in which a voter claimed that when she opened her mail-in ballot (which had arrived late), someone had already filled in Hillary Clinton for president on the ballot. When the voter arrived at her polling location to exchange it for a clean ballot, she allegedly discovered that she was not on the roster at all and had no choice but to vote provisionally.
As Vote-by-Mail and provisional ballots are counted in L.A. County and other counties throughout California, Bernie Sanders has actually slowly been cutting away at Hillary Clinton’s lead, even while social media reports indicate that a number of ballots cast provisionally have been rejected due to signature inconsistencies. Since the AP called California for Clinton with millions of ballots left uncounted and a lead of under 500 thousand votes across the entire state, ballots counted as of June 16 have eroded her lead by greater than two percentage points. It may not be enough to flip the state, because Sanders would need to take 193 delegates from Clinton’s current tally in order to have a majority of pledged delegates to take to the convention in July, according to the Green Papers, but enough flipped districts in California could alter the delegate allocation and the perception of strength at the National Convention.
— Ben Allen (@BenAllenCA) June 10, 2016
Statewide, there are over 1.3 million ballots still to count before California can certify the election, according to an update posted to the California Secretary of State’s website Thursday night. Currently, Clinton leads in the L.A. County primary by under 170,000 votes as of Friday morning, but L.A. County reports over 368,000 ballots remain uncounted from the recent primary.