Election Integrity Project California sues Mark Lunn—Ventura County Registrar of Voters for lack of transparency in March Primary Elections

By Michael Hernandez

Editor’s Note:  More evidence will be heard in this Election Integrity Project California lawsuit against Ventura County by Superior Court Judge Henry J. Walsh of Courtroom 42 on Monday, March 30th at 9:30 a.m.  The Hall of Justice is located on 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA 93009.  However, this court date is just before the required Election Day certification.) 

VENTURA—A lawsuit was filed by Election Integrity Project, California and City of Oxnard plaintiff Rolando Chinea in Superior Court this past Friday claiming that the Ventura County Office of Clerk and Recorder was not allowing voter transparency in the March 3, 2020 Primary Elections.

Election Integrity Project California observers in Ventura County are seeking that Mark Lunn—the Ventura County Registrar of Voters permit the following according to Elections Code 15104:

  1. Allow the processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes and the processing and counting of vote by mail ballots, to be open to the public, both prior to and after elections.
  2. Allow persons wishing to observe the processing of vote by mail ballots sufficiently close access to enable them to observe the vote by mail ballot return envelopes and the signatures thereon and challenge whether those individuals handling vote by mail ballots are following established procedures, including all of the following;
  • Verifying signatures and address on the vote by mail ballot return envelopes by comparing them to voter registration information.
  • Duplicating accurately damaged or defective ballots.
  • Securing vote by mail ballots to prevent tampering with them before they are counted on election day.

The lawsuit filed by Election Integrity Project California attorneys Steven C. Bailey and Robert E. Williams states that “defendant Lunn has failed to follow the clear statutory directive of Elections Code 15104 requiring defendant Lunn to allow members of the public to observe the processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes and vote by mail ballots for the March 3, 2020 primary election.”

“Despite repeated requests from EIPCa volunteers, defendant Lunn has failed to follow these mandates for the primary election held on March 3, 2020.  Plaintiff Roland Chinea and volunteer observers have been restricted to observing from six limited areas.  These six, restricted observation areas are situated such that the Observers are unable to observe in any meaningful way, the processing vote by mail ballot return envelopes and vote by mail ballots.

“The restricted observation areas do not allow the Observers to observe many of the areas where the processing of the vote by mail ballot return envelopes and vote by mail ballots takes place.  Furthermore, the restricted observation areas are too far removed from the processing of the vote by mail ballot return envelops and vote by mail ballots to allow the Observers to observe anything other than the fact that ballot envelopes and ballots are being processed.  The Observers cannot observe the verification of signatures on vote by mail ballot return envelopes and cannot observe the process by which defective or damaged vote by mail ballots are duplicated.

“Defendant Lunn has also prohibited Observers from speaking while observing, thus thwarting their ability to challenge the processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes and vote by mail ballots, as allowed by section 15104 of the Elections Code.

“The processing of vote by mail return envelopes and vote by mail ballots for the primary election held on March 3, 2020 will continue until the results of the election are certified,” said the Election Integrity Project California lawsuit.

Ventura County Clerk and Recorder Mark A. Lunn has served in his elected position for 10 years and previously served in law enforcement for 34 years.   During his 2018 re-election campaign his website stated that he was the first Ventura County Clerk and Recorder in history to be certified by the Elections Center and Auburn University as a “Certified Elections Registration Administrator” (CERA) and as a Certified CA Registration Election Official (REO).   His website states:  “I will continue to insist upon the highest level of integrity, and…I will keep your trust, preserve our history and protect our democracy.”

Former Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean in 2018 endorsed Lunn by stating that Lunn “has demonstrated he is a trusted guardian of one of our most important rights as Americans, fair and impartial elections.”

Election Integrity Project California is a 501c3 non-profit, non-partisan, public benefit California corporation dedicated to promoting open and honest elections in the State of California.  EIPCa has trained over 10,000 observers.  

The organization’s website states that EIPCa is “dedicated to assuring that every legally cast vote is properly counted and reported.  The goal of EIPCa is to defend the integrity of the voting process through research, observation and documentation…and enables citizens to become active participants in the entire election process, from overseeing the integrity of the voter rolls, to ensuring that each lawfully cast vote is counted and counted fairly, and that all processes are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws, statues and regulations.”

At issue, in the Election Integrity Project Ventura County lawsuit is the Ventura County Public Observation guidelines versus the California Election Code 15104.  Representing Election Integrity Project California was Attorney Robroy Fawcett and representing Ventura County was attorney Matthew Smith.

The Citizens Journal attempted to get comments for this story from Ventura County Registrar Mark Lunn but was told by his  secretary that he had no comment and that he had not seen the lawsuit yet.

A phone call to Ventura County Legal counsel Matthew Smith  who is not available this week was returned by his litigation supervisor Alberto Boada who said “the Elections Division Office is balancing its operational needs with compliance with the statue over how close observers can get when ballots are being recorded.  It is our position that  we are fully compliant with the statue that the plaintiff served.”   

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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Richard Michael 909-378-5401

Lunn printed and circulated ballots with language that violates (in vary degrees) ALL three of the honest ballot provisions of AB-195 (Elections Code 13119). Those are crimes against the elective franchise. Elections Code 18401 (misdemeanor) and Elections Code 18002 (felony). See the measures below.

The unlawful ballots were printed and circulated using public moneys, which is its own separate criminal violation (felony) under Penal Code 424(a).

Those crimes make the winning measures B, C, D, and, maybe, V subject to an election contest under Elections Code 16100(c).

The lawyers will always say public servants complied with the law. They know Ventura County pays the judges “supplemental judicial benefits.” The Legislature made both the county and the judges immune from civil and criminal liability. (SBX2-11) The immunity part only appears in the statute, not in the Government. That way, the Legislature hid this criminal activity from the casual public observer. Why would the Legislature give them immunity if it wasn’t a crime?

You can whine and complain, but there’s nothing that’s going to stop these criminals until to put their skin in the game. Have you filed your complaints with Greg Totten? Why not? Are you ready to file election contests when the elections are certified?

If you didn’t know before, now you do. What are YOU going to do about it?

[A] To repair deteriorating roofs, plumbing, electrical; remove hazardous materials, improve safety/ security, labs, classrooms, technology for math, science, engineering, arts, killed trade, college/career readiness instruction; shall Moorpark Unified School District’s measure authorizing $96,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying 3 cents/ $100 assessed value ($5,000,000 annually) while bonds are outstanding, to renovate, acquire, construct/ repair classrooms, facilities, sites, equipment, be adopted, with citizen oversight, all funds staying local?

[B] OXNARD GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY AND ETHICS ACT. To increase fiscal accountability, prevent special interest influence/political conflicts of interest, improve City ethics, governance, transparency without new City powers, shall Oxnard City Code be amended to prohibit elected officials from accepting gifts from lobbyists/City contractors; impose contribution limits on candidates for all elected office; limit Mayor/Councilmembers to three consecutive four-year terms, require posting monthly financial reports and all expensive City contracts on City’s website for public review?

[C] Shall the measure to fund capital improvement and other projects by imposing an additional 5% special transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) on hotel guests, expressly confirming the existing “rent” definition as including resort fees, cancelation fees, parking fees, and similar fees, raising approximately $1,300,000 – $1,700,000 in additional annual revenue to fund City capital improvement and maintenance projects, including street paving; and fire mitigation, code enforcement, and climate change mitigation; until voters decide otherwise, be adopted?

[D] Shall the offices of Santa Paula City Clerk and City Treasurer be appointive?

[V] LAS VIRGENES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT SAFETY, REPAIR, CAREER READINESS MEASURE. To locally fund upgrades for safe/modern schools; enhance instructional technology, college/career readiness in math, science, technology, engineering, arts; improve safety, security, emergency/fire systems; repair, acquire, construct, equip classrooms, sites, facilities, roofs, plumbing, heating/air conditioning; shall Las Virgenes Unified School District’s measure authorizing $198,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying 2 cents per $100 assessed value ($11,000,000 annually) while bonds are outstanding, be adopted, with citizen oversight and local control?

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Bruce Boyer candidate for sheriff
Bruce Boyer candidate for sheriff
8 months ago

Thank you EIP for kicking down this door of a house of corruption. For those who believe that Mark Lunn is some pinnacle of integrity because he poses well as one; judge a man by his actions; NOT by how he poses. Take a look at how the ballots are allegedly counted how the process is done. Then tell me how a man of integrity is in charge of it??? IF Mr. Lunn wants to blame others for the voter fraud; it’s well past time that he stand up and speak up; or is ten years on the job collecting $250K est per year plus benefits and a second pension in addition to the State one that we pay for… I welcome him to respond to me; my offers to him have been ignored for two years. Mark???

María Vallejo
María Vallejo
8 months ago

According to the article written by Michael Hernandez on March 11, 2020, it was clearly stated that “The organization’s website states that EIPCa is “dedicated to assuring that every legally cast vote is properly counted and reported. The goal of EIPCa is to defend the integrity of the voting process through research, observation and documentation… and enables citizens to become active participants in the entire election process, from overseeing the integrity of the voter rolls, to ensuring that each lawfully cast vote is counted and counted fairly, and that all processes are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws, status and regulations.”
The purpose of the article was not to question Mr Mark Lunn’s integrity. The purpose was to challenge the ballot processing procedures at the Elections Division Office bringing clarity and transparency to the process according to California Election Code 15104.
EIPCa observers are not questioning the ROV honesty, however, the VC citizens observers are experiencing that the actual procedures established by the ROV Office are not allowing the observers to clearly see what the ROV office employees are doing.
EIPCa object is to validate the integrity of fair and impartial elections and that the volunteer observers may be allowed to observe according to section 15104 of the Ca. Election Code.

Citizen Reporter
Admin
8 months ago

Since the question has been asked of us, here is the statute referenced in Mr. Hernandez’s article:

California Code, Elections Code – ELEC § 15104

15104. (a) The processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes, and the processing and counting of vote by mail ballots, shall be open to the public, both prior to and after the election.
(b) A member of the county grand jury, and at least one member each of the Republican county central committee, the Democratic county central committee, and of any other party with a candidate on the ballot, and any other interested organization, shall be permitted to observe and challenge the manner in which the vote by mail ballots are handled, from the processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes through the counting and disposition of the ballots.
(c) The elections official shall notify vote by mail voter observers and the public at least 48 hours in advance of the dates, times, and places where vote by mail ballots will be processed and counted.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 2194, vote by mail voter observers shall be allowed sufficiently close access to enable them to observe the vote by mail ballot return envelopes and the signatures thereon and challenge whether those individuals handling vote by mail ballots are following established procedures, including all of the following:
(1) Verifying signatures and addresses on the vote by mail ballot return envelopes by comparing them to voter registration information.
(2) Duplicating accurately damaged or defective ballots.
(3) Securing vote by mail ballots to prevent tampering with them before they are counted on election day.
(e) A vote by mail voter observer shall not interfere with the orderly processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes or the processing and counting of vote by mail ballots, including the touching or handling of the ballots.
(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 548, Sec. 2. (AB 1573) Effective January 1, 2010.)

Steve
Steve
8 months ago

Legal, conservative voters really don’t count in California. It’s been designed that way. My observations of what I’ve seen in the election polling/voting locations would shock our constitutional forefathers. It’s been stolen by the progressive/leftist special interest groups. There is no transparency or even accountability by the voter election commission. Thank God, there’s an Electoral College.

H
H
8 months ago

Thank you, Election Integrity Project CA for pursing this issue. Given the amount of voter and election fraud being documented across the country, it’s of paramount importance that full transparency – not the appearance of transparency – be established. With the number of in-house partisan employees, Ventura County’s own “swamp,” I would expect a fight against transparency. Shame on VC Clerk and Recorder Lunn for his position on this matter.

Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn
8 months ago

Smart decision to file. The Southern Poverty Legal Center started by 1 attorney named Mark Dees now has an endowment of over 360 million dollars. Election Integrity should ask for legal expenses.
Integrity can also compel city councils and park district to vote by district in compliance with the CA Voting Rights Act. Similar 1 page demand letter resulted in CVUSD switching to districts. The attorney got $31,000 for 90 minutes work.

William Hicks
William Hicks
8 months ago

Very strange. I’ve communicated with Mark Lunn in the past and considered him an upright person for the post he sit s on. I hope there is evidence to clear his name.

Jeffrey Burum
Jeffrey Burum
8 months ago

It is simply amazing that as of last Fri, approximately 18k votes were counted and candidates Flynn and Ramirez were reported as likely winners in two prominent newspapers. What was not said was that 60k votes remained unprocessed in the county, including 40k mail in ballots and 13k provisional ballots. Also during a record registration year, Oxnard has approximately 18k votes counted and nextdoor, smaller Camarillo had 32k votes. In addition,Ventura County appeared to have one of the higher unprocessed vote counts and provisional voter counts of all counties in CA according to the CA SOS report.

Dee Ann
Dee Ann
8 months ago

After many years, I moved back to my home state of CA and Ventura County. I registered to vote via the Social Security Office in Ventura during my address change report. I received a “mail in ballot” which I did NOT request. Kinda of interesting. I filled it out accordingly and went to my designated Election Polling Location on March 3rd to turn in my ballot for any further documentation. When I asked the clerk whether my election registration had to be verified, they said NO! I was a little surprised by this response. When I handed the clerk my ballot in the official mail-in ballot enevelope, I didn’t see any special container to put it in. The clerk just took it from me and set it on the table. I felt this was strange. Needless to say, I’m not surprised to learn about the lawsuit against the Ventura County Election Registrar for lack of transparency and integrity of mail-in ballot votes! I would like to offer my testimony about this important issue. I have very serious about the integrity of my vote!

Michele
Michele
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee Ann

Did you look up your ballot to see if it was counted? https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/