Sacramento, CA Election Integrity Project (EIP) march & rally

PaineLindaSAC2By George Miller

Group rallies at CA Capitol to raise consciousness, build support, protest controversial new election statute.

Linda Paine, President/Founder, Election Integrity Project (shown, left, on Capitol steps)

StalinBackground

Election Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan group of U.S. and California citizens actively participating in the governing of our state and country. They volunteer in the hope of ensuring the integrity of the voting process which protects our freedoms and way of life.  EIP  seeks to protect a government of, by, and for the people by maintaining a role in that part of government which empowers us all with the most fundamental right of a Constitutional Republic ~ the right to choose our representatives by vote. After three years of diligent, hard work EIP is now beginning to have an impact. A trained team of over 2100 volunteers monitored the November, 2012 elections, resulting in approximately 1750 incidents reporting the chaos that negatively impacted our elections. Since early 2013, EIP has been meeting with CA Representatives, attorneys, and citizens from both CA and other states to build a coalition to correct the problems.  

EIP was founded by Linda Paine, a Santa Clarita, CA activist and three others in Dec. 2010, who noted serious infractions of the election process during the 2010 mid-term elections. Ms. Paine and many of her associates organized Southern California election/poll watching activities to monitor the critical mid-term elections, which included Congressional races and all state-wide offices contested. Since then, EIP has been more formally organized and now has thousands of EIP-trained volunteers in 21 California counties.

To gain credibility and wider support, they embraced a nonpartisan approach and hold everyone involved in the process equally accountable when it comes to election law infractions and weaknesses. Although anomalies exist at every level of government and political activity, EIP has chosen to focus on the polls, registration and the election processing. They have studied election law, acquired field experience and know what the problems are. They have trained literally thousands of people as poll observers and signature verification observers, deploying about 2100 of them in 21 counties during the November, 2012 elections to document over 1750 incidents.

They are working in cooperation with the county election officials to uncover  anomalies in the voter rolls.  This will help compensate for the fact that California is the only state not to have a statewide voter database as required by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2004.  EIP sends observers out to polling and county activities to detect infractions.

Public Events

EIP recently conducted multiple events to bring public attention to the existing infractions, dubious new laws being railroaded through the legislature and solicit support for EIP’s mission and activities..  The LA County EIP Strategy Meeting was held in Los Angeles on August 17, 2013 to communicate the nature and scope of the problems, what is being done to correct them, what else might be done and to solicit support There was an earlier meeting that day for public consumption (event photo below).

EIPLA8-13

But the most prominent one was held on August 29, 2013- “March on Sacramento,” then a subsequent event where speakers voiced their concerns and ideas on the steps of the Capitol Building. It all led to the formal presentation of close to 5200 citizen petition signatures protesting the Governor’s ratification of  AB817, which permits non-citizens to act as election officials. The vote for this bill was accelerated and already signed into law by Governor Brown by the date of the EIP event. EIP officials strongly believe that non-citizens do not have the same investment in, and allegiance to, our country as citizens. Some of the speakers at the event were Linda Paine, President/Founder, Ruth Weiss, San Diego County Coordinator and State VP of Education/Training, Valerie Watson, Santa Barbara County Coordinator, Shannon Grove, District 34 State Assemblywoman. (speaker and entertainer video links below).

 

 

Photo: Join us as we march on Sacramento to tell our legislators WE ARE HERE…AND WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Did you note all the “media” coverage?  Neither did Citizensjournal.us. So, concerned people will have to rely upon the public to spread the message, for now.

 

(Above) Inside the Capitol on 8-29-13

EIP notes that California’s legislature is further undermining election integrity with more bills like AB817.  Ms. Paine is rather outspoken about our state legislators and their reaction to EIP’s attempts to influence AB817. After a five week blitz to raise issues about the bill, educate legislators and attempt to stop AB817, only two Democrats voted against it and a few Republicans didn’t vote against it, when abstentions/abseentees are included (see VOTES).  “Legislators seem very confident that they cannot lose their seats ….They seem more concerned about lobbyists and those who are paying to have them re-elected  …. Many bills do not represent the best interests of  The People,” Paine told us. About four dozen people went in to attempt to speak to legislators.  A few of the volunteers actually spoke with legislators, who were having an open house to celebrate the upcoming end of this year’s session. More EIP’ers were able to speak with aides. A Republican official took some of the delegation on a tour and spoke with them about legislation. More than one legislator/aide claimed AB817 was passed to provide interpreters for non-English speaking voters, in spite of the fact that proof was provided that this was not a problem in the polling places.  For the most part, so far Sacramento has given EIP the brush-off.

Ms. Paine lamented, “the people don’t have the time and funds to be able to sit and lobby  …. The voice of the voters has become diminished…. they are being moved out of the process.”  She noted that Deborah Jackson, a Placer County activist, has started a movement of people from the northern counties to help lobby for issues.

These event videos tell EIP’s story first-hand, better than we possibly could …..

Linda Paine explains issues, actions

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laHxn19zxSE

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Linda Paine delivers 5,000 petitions to Gov. Brown

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qaxWAg4uW-Q

Mike Smith Music, followed by Linda Paine report on AB817 – non-citizens as election officials (at 03:18 )

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-JlzhBxmxbI

 

Valerie Watson, EIP Coordinator, Santa Barbara- A shocker on UCSB voting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RSRo0t7uKGI

See ALL event Videos

 

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EIP San Diego County Coordinator & State Education/Training VP Ruth Weiss and President Linda Paine, above, delivering the ballots to the Governor’s office, 5191 signatures from citizens who oppose AB817 (gathered without the help of national or local media).

Ms. Weiss told us that so far the California  legislature has not  embraced the EIP cause. Only four members have expressed interest in EIP’s AB817 position and only one spoke at the Aug. 17 event. This was after repeated mailings, calls and meetings with legislative aides. One member reportedly said she wished she had known all of this before she voted for AB817. When reminded that she had been provided materials, she said she didn’t have time to read all that.

Contact with Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s staff has been mostly by mail, with a few phone calls. No meetings have been scheduled yet, although EIP believes it now has enough to justify more interaction. The SOS office is responsible for enforcement of State Election laws and the tallying of statewide votes.

Extensive calls to the Governor’s office yielded some phone contact, but little agreement on why the bill should be stopped on Brown’s desk.

Interaction with County Clerks/election officials started earlier and has fared better. After some initial bewilderment (who ARE you people anyway?) and even some hostility, they are building a mutual understanding and rapport, with results ranging from enthusiastic partnership, to grudging cooperation, to indifference and even still some hostility.

Voter Registration and Check-in

EIP states that lack of positive ID of voters, lax enforcement, failure to have a statewide registration database, lack of tools to vet the rolls, sloppy check-in laws and enforcement are significant weaknesses in the electoral system. Currently, voters must register with a Drivers License, State ID or the  last 4 digits of their Social Security number. However, this information is not used to check for duplicate registrations, screen out departed or deceased voters, or even eligibility. Private parties can obtain voter information without the identifying numbers and can construct their own databases and tools for presumptive matching to detect likely anomalies, which can then be submitted to officials for action.  EIP is in the process of fully developing those capabilities now.  There is evidence that voters use slightly different spellings and birth dates. The existing CA system is not in compliance with federal law, but even so it has received an annual waiver to be out of compliance.  CA has little in the way of tools or ongoing programs for detecting probable duplicates in multiple counties, multiple states or even slightly different in-county registrations.   Failure to have voters state their name and address when checking in and failure to check ID of first time votes (no ID check required after first time) were cited as top electoral offenses by EIP.

Provisional and Absentee Ballots

These present huge opportunities for error and fraud. Provisional ballots are required when there is apparently no registration at the polling place a voter shows up at. Theoretically, they should go to the correct polling place, but this information is not always available or readily accessible to the voter and might be incorrect or changed. State law mandates that a provisional ballot be offered and that this be verified later. Provisional ballots often account for 15% of the total vote in some areas. EIP’s Santa Barbara coordinator can be heard on the linked video (above) stating that 40% of the ballots in the UCSB area were provisional in 2012,  an outrageous figure, which indicates massive foul-ups, poor voter education or possible fraud and that groups of voters were shepherded to polling places, lined up and briefed by apparent coordinators.  These voters  were also noted to demand that they be given an, “I voted sticker” or receipt.  Actual turnout was over 130% of registered voters in the UCSB area, an area notorious for this.  The atmosphere  was described as chaotic.  In theory, provisional ballots should be checked for validity and that the voter didn’t vote more than once, but in practice, and a lack of tools, procedures, time and resources, make that problematic.

About half of all voting is by absentee, mail-in ballots. These present great potential for mismanagement and fraud, because it is difficult to determine if the right person actually voted or is still at that address. Low participation voters may have their registrations hijacked and used by others. These voters may seldom vote, may have left the area or even died.

General

Ms. Weiss stated that most election officials do not actually have copies of the book of California Election Law, but just have very streamlined “Readers’ Digest” versions, which leave much to be desired. She noted observing extensive ignorance of the law and proper methods for its implementation.  She also noted that EIP doesn’t necessarily “look for fraud,” but for “lack of consistent procedures, lack of compliance and ignoring the law.”

Fraud is a very serious criminal activity which involves willful disobedience of the law for illegal gain, which must be proved in court. Most incidents fall considerably short of that and can be addressed with far less than criminal charges, trial, conviction and punishment.

Legal Partners

EIP doesn’t have much legal expertise onboard, nor funding for it, at this point. They work with a few firms on a pro bono basis, reviewing applicable election laws and looking over their many incident reports for the best litigation candidates..  A few of those are in the pipeline,.   EIP wishes to solicit pro bono assistance and also funding for future legal work.

Ms. Weiss did note that J. Christian Adams, who departed from The Dept. of Justice over Eric Holder’s handling of the infamous Sanford case, is helping EIP. Adams later wrote “INJUSTICE” (above), an expose of the DOJ under Holder.

However, at this point, EIP has developed very good practical working knowledge of election laws, procedures, training and enforcement weaknesses, which have the greatest material impact and how to address them. Their corrective action has been mostly taking the form of education and working with county level officials. They also try to influence legislation .  The next step for them would be state level enforcement of the election law.

Interaction with True The Vote 

TTV (True The Vote) is the largest, most visible election integrity group in the country, based in Texas, but reaching out nationwide and cooperating with like-minded people.  They started out earlier than EIP and have more momentum. TTV has lent their clout and expertise to some of EIP’s initiatives, which EIP is grateful to have received.

Conclusion

Concerned citizens saw abuses in the electoral system, organized, scaled up, and documented that it was even worse than they thought. Now they are expanding the effort, publicizing it and learning what is required to initiate, finance and pursue litigation, publicity and educational activities to address serious abuses of our hallowed electoral system.  And they want YOU to get involved, as a volunteer, donor and publicist.

 

More EIP Info

http://electionintegrityproject.com    https://www.facebook.com/electionintegrityproject

Download their preliminary report:

https://www.electionintegrityproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/preliminaryreport.pdf

EIP Video Library:

https://www.electionintegrityproject.com/video/

Contacts:
Linda Paine
661-313-5251
[email protected]

Ruth Weiss
619-820-5175
[email protected]

Summary of:

EIPirregulatities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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George Miller is a “retired” operations management consultant and a Citizen Journalist, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

 

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