Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Walk the Vote! A Pre-emptive Strike on Voter Fraud in Our Fine City
So a friend of mine went to the Registrars Office to vote the other day as he had for years and was told that he could only vote at the Registrars office if he was going on vacation. Knowing full well this was a lie, he stood at the desk and demanded a ballot. The lady finally went back and told her supervisor that he was going on vacation and needed a ballot. He resented that she lied to him and then to her supervisor to get the ballot since he had nothing to lie about.
So you may say this sounds like a simple misunderstanding. And that would be reasonable if the backstory wasn't so filled with the kind of scandal and suspicious activity that would rival an Enron style documentary. I am not making any of this up, I swear. Feel free to do your own google fact checking please.
Our story begins last May when the County Board of Supervisors (that is coincidentally up for re-election) hired 2 very suspect figures to run the registrar of voters, Deborah Seiler and Micheal Vu. If the names sound familiar its because they ran the 2004 Ohio presidential election, yeah that election, the one that was just featured in the popular SD Film Fest doc called "Uncounted: How the Ohio 2004 Election Fraud Changed the Course of History". Yep, those were the best 2 candidates for the job. But not to worry, there were just allegations of fraud right? Nope, there are currently people in jail for rigging that election under Seiler and Vu.
Seems that people and papers all over the country were raising red flags about SD election hires, but not the good ol' UT. You can always count on them to give you the real news.
"Seiler's hiring was the second decision by the county in the last month or so to raise questions from election watchdogs." Wired Magazine "Joining Seiler in the San Diego elections office is another election official beleaguered by controversy -- Michael Vu. Until recently, Vu was the elections director in Cuyahoga County in Ohio . He resigned in the wake of a number of critical reports depicting problems with how his office conducted elections and how machines made by Diebold performed. His resignation also followed the conviction of two election workers in his office who were found guilty of rigging a recount in the 2004 presidential election. Vu was recently made assistant registrar of voters in San Diego ." Wired Magazine
I do give props to the North County Times which did sound alarms back in August of 2007 saying this....
"The e-voting experiment will not end quietly. ... The county is trying to maintain its iron grip on elections by ensuring secret vote-counting continues in the guise of optical scanners. After all, three members of the same Board of Supervisors that brought us the e-voting fiasco are facing re-election. Honest elections create uncertainty in those depending on them for power. To protect Diebold's interest in getting paid and the county's control over elections, look for the board to cut a deal with Diebold whereby the county abandons the touch-screens and buys Diebold's optical scanners at the same price as the more expensive touch-screens."
"At the center is Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler, who is in the unenviable position of having to prove to county officials that the products she sold them when working for Diebold are what she said they were. .. If Seiler has her way, most voters will be mailing in their ballots to be secretly counted on Diebold's opti-scan."
Hence, my blog title, "Walk the Vote". Seiler is counting on most ballots to be mailed in ahead of time where they are not secret at all and they are opened and then sorted (or thrown away) by the registrar. You laugh, but in Ohio citizens went dumpster diving and discovered thousands of disgarded non-Bush ballots. The best thing we can do is walk them into the registars office with a big smile on our faces.
I have received 2 letters in the last 6 months from the registrars office urging me and everyone to become a mail in voter and to get it in early! Plus the actual election guide already gives you the option on the back to become a mail in. Isn't this alot of postage and paper to say the same thing?
I do have to say that I was delighted to find all kinds of literature on spotting voter fraud. One of the main things they say to look for in addition to a registrar that encourages absentee voting, is a change from precinct tabulation to centralized tabulation. So last January, a full 10 months before the election, Seiler made this announcement on KPBS....
San Diego's Registrar Urges Absentee Voters to Get Ballots in Soon
"All the paper ballots will have to be brought to the Registrar's office to be counted this year, instead of being counted at the polling places. That's because the Registrar hasn't been able to purchase enough tally machines for every precinct."
So I guess there must be a major back log on precinct tally machines if 10 months isn't enough time to get some.
And then there is the small issue of the Diebold optical scanner. You see, we got rid of the DB touchscreens (which Seiler sold us as the Diebold sales rep) because people did not trust that they could not be hacked. So now we assume that our paper ballots are safe and secure right?
Well consider this, we got rid of the touchscreen machines, but we got the DB Optical scanners instead---featured in the HBO doc "Hacking Democracy" where it took a computer hacker a full 15 minutes to hack into the machine and change the votes.
But our February primary went so smoothly you say. (oh wait that was reported in the UT by Seiler)
Hmmm, maybe not so fast. An article in August 2008 came out (in every major CA newspaper by the way. The UT may have missed this one as well) about a major lawsuit filed by SD voters contending election mishandling and potential fraud in Feb primary.
"Election workers at county headquarters accepted unsealed and unsigned boxes of ballots for processing, according to statements from volunteers who observed the February tally. A troubleshooting log indicated dispatchers told poll workers not to worry about missing seals after the county ran out of the red locking tabs."
Boy, Seiler sure does have a hard time ordering things for elections. Not enough precinct tallying machines, not enough red seals (no big deal, I mean who cares if thousands of boxes of ballots aren't closed with official seals). I mean we did hire her for expertise at running elections, not her administrative ability to order office supplies like highlighters, tallying machines, or official seals.
Alright, there is so much more, but I am wiped out from writing. So I will leave you with this. I think we all just want an honest election and we are exhausted from discovering so much scandal and corruption. I mean, it was fun at first, but now its become a full-time job to keep an eye on things and I have other interests to pursue. The best thing we can do right now is walk the vote!