Linda Paine, Election Integrity Project CA, 6/29/21
Santa Clarita, Calif. – The Los Angeles Times published articles on June 25 by reporters Paige St. John and Anita Chabria, making gross misstatements about Election Integrity Project® California (EIPCa). EIPCa is a nonpartisan charity that for over ten years has championed the right of every eligible citizen to cast an unimpeded vote, protected by laws and procedures that guarantee fairness, accuracy and transparency.
The Los Angeles Times pieces appeared shortly after EIPCa sent a letter to the California Secretary of State with findings that California has 1.8 million more registered voters than eligible citizens, and that almost 124,000 more votes were counted in California’s 2020 general election than voters recorded as voting in that election.
The articles attempted to cast doubt on EIPCa’s findings. Yet, EIPCa’s statistical analysis has never been seriously questioned in its 10+ years of existence. EIPCa uses precise methods that err on the side of caution. Its findings likely underestimate the problem.
The articles also malign EIPCa’s efforts as “racist” and “partisan” efforts at “voter suppression.” This could not be more false. Election integrity is an issue that affects all of our rights as California Citizens, regardless of our race, ethnicity or political views. EIPCa volunteers are diverse and come from all races, political affiliations and places in the world, including many who have experienced true voter suppression in their countries of origin.
The articles falsely smear EIPCa’s research into non-citizen voting as racist against people of Central and South American origin (who actually make up a large portion of EIPCa’s volunteers). Regardless of national origin or immigration status, non-citizens are prohibited from voting for a federal office. Requiring US Citizenship to vote in a US election is common sense and the law of the land.
The articles falsely accuse EIPCa of affiliation with partisan groups. Just one of the articles’ many blatant falsehoods is an accusation that EIPCa’s President Linda Paine has held monthly meetings with California Republican Party leadership. The articles apparently rely on uncorroborated rumor from a few individuals hostile to EIPCa’s mission.
EIPCa trains thousands of citizen volunteers to observe the election process. California law guarantees citizens this right, and allows them to ask questions of election officials. EIPCa volunteers are trained to recognize lawful election procedures, and to ask polite questions of elections officials when they perceive irregularities. Volunteers sign a contract that they will follow EIPCa policy and training to stay within the bounds of California law, and violations of that contract are extremely rare. If they occur, the offender is dealt with immediately and all association with EIPCa is terminated. Although the articles make no mention of it, EIPCa has received support from election officials throughout the state.
These articles appear at a crucial time, and not just because of EIPCa’s recent findings. Pending with the Secretary of State are two sets of regulations that would undercut election integrity, hinder election oversight, and hamstring candidates or parties. These regulations gut the protective purpose of signature verification by hampering election officials’ ability to challenge even severely mismatched signatures, even though CA’s curing process protects voters from disenfranchisement when their signatures have undergone a legitimate change (2 CCR 20960(g)(4)). They also allow voting on paper other than genuine mail ballots (2 CCR 20991(b)(9)), and give election officials unlimited discretion to deny voter registration data to otherwise-authorized recipients, including journalists, election watchdogs like EIPCa, political parties, and candidates (2 CCR 19000-19013).
EIPCa stands for the rights of all eligible citizens to vote, and have their votes counted accurately, equally and transparently. These false articles are an attempt to undermine the hard work of thousands of diverse Californians from all walks of life to protect those rights.