Count Every Vote (November 6, 2018)
The current ballot system is unwieldly and overwhelming if not out-and-out broken. As an observer of the voting process at precincts and at the Registrar of Voters (ROV) count process I am amazed that this vulnerable system works as well as it does.
Thousands of voters claim to have not received their mail-in ballots and then request provisional ballots. Mail-in ballots are “lost” without the knowledge of the voters. Thousands of voters claim to “changed names,” “changed addresses,” or “just registered” and then request provisional ballots. Voters receive mail-in ballots at two different addresses. Voters don’t trust the US Postal Service to deliver their mail-in ballots.
Ballot provisions are poorly titled to lead voters astray. The precinct sign-in procedure is confronted by a voter address booklet that is printed upside down and turned around. Some precincts are too small and crowded to accept the prescribed number of machines and cartons (cardboard voting booths). Some precincts are understaffed, particularly since voting interest is at an all-time high. Valiant voters wait in long lines to vote.
ROV clerks are challenged to verify every voter signature, comparing a scribbled signature on the ballot to a more legible and possibly different signature in their original voter registration form. Ballots are discarded where the voter neglected to sign it.
These are issues that I personally observed over a three-week period starting on the November 6 election day. What other issues are confronting the voter process?
As an observer for the Election Integrity Project California (EIPCa), our purpose is to observe the voting process and to question the Precinct Inspector if some procedure has not been followed correctly.
I commend the precinct workers who I found to be committed to their responsibilities and working hours in the best interest of the voters. At one precinct, overwhelmed by the long lines of voters throughout the day, the Precinct Inspector remained cheerful and helpful right up to the last voter (at 9:45 pm-an hour and 45 minutes after the polls closed).
I found the ROV workers diligent and committed. Think of entering data and comparing voter signatures with two “volunteer observers” behind you ready to challenge your decision. Comparing signatures under this stress must be crushing at times. The ROV provides a very transparent atmosphere and is to be rightfully commended in handling over 1.5 million ballots.
The 2020 elections may be as dynamic and with swollen interest as this one has been. Will history repeat itself?