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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-03-08 12:03 AM
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workthevote, cocerned poll workers and progressive dems of LA Demand Registrar Print More Ballots
Demand for More Precinct-Specific Ballots for LA County


Dear Dean Logan,

Work the Vote Los Angeles urges you to immediately print enough "official precinct-marked ballots" to provide every registered voter in the county with a "precinct-marked ballot." Once printed, these ballots should immediately be distributed to the precinct inspectors.

Work the Vote Los Angeles has been in contact with poll inspectors who will be supervising polling precincts on Election Day this Tuesday (see precinct info with ballot/voter ratios following this letter). Their deep concern is that with the projected historic turnout of voters they may face a serious ballot shortage. Ernie Gomez from the Registrar's office confirmed to Wendy Hughes of Concerned Pollworkers of Los Angeles that the Registrar's office has been receiving many phone calls (from other inspectors) on this very issue.

This is a looming crisis that we feel deserves your full attention and immediate action. The solution that you offered in your 10/31 email correspondence to Mimi Kennedy is considered by Work the Vote LA to be woefully inadequate and problematic.

First of all, Work the Vote does not think your formula for figuring the number of ballots needed is correct. In your e-mail you wrote:

"Our ballot orders reflect that expectation and when factors such as the number of vote by mail voters, those who vote early and inactive voters in each voting precinct are calculated (italics ours), the ballot supply should be, in most precincts, more than sufficient to meet demand."

But California Election code makes clear that vote by mail (VBM) ballots must be supplied as "additional" to the number of precinct ballots supplied based on the number of registered voters and the calculation of "sufficient number" based on "turnout history."

14102. (a) (1) For each statewide election, the elections official shall provide a sufficient number of official ballots in each precinct to reasonably meet the needs of the voters in that precinct on election day using the precinct's voter turnout history as the criterion, but in no case shall this number be less than 75 percent of registered voters in the precinct, and for vote by mail and emergency purposes shall provide the additional number of ballotsthat may be necessary.

VBM voter numbers in a precinct should not be a factor in the sufficiency calculation for that precinct's Election Day ballots. For one thing, VBM voters can, legally, show up and surrender their VBM ballot for cancellation in exchange for a ballot at the polls.

Regarding historic turnout as a factor: Inactive voters on the register are registered voters. On the RR/CC website, the FAQ about infrequent voters makes it clear that they can vote. Universal predictions of a turnout that swamps historic numbers suggests that inactive voters on precinct rolls who are registered voters - should be factored into the calculation of "sufficiency" not excluded from that calculation.

The inspectors report that the rosters have been adjusted once already for the increasing numbers of registered voters, and are scheduled for an additional influx of voters on Monday. These additions may cancel out the number of voters who do not need ballots because they either do not vote on Election Day, or vote by mail. In addition, every voter has the right to use up to 3 ballots to vote, which again makes the ballots so far allocated insufficient.

Now, in regard to the solutions that you offer, you wrote:

"In Los Angeles County , we have a two-fold contingency plan. First, we instruct poll workers to notify the assigned precinct coordinator and/or the polls section that their ballot supply is low. Every effort will be made to provide the precinct with replacement supplies prior to running out."

Phase One of the above proposed contingency plan has already failed. The Coordinators do not have extra regular ballots. They have been given 50-100 demonstration ballots to share among several precincts and the inspectors on an as-needed basis.

Unfortunately, your decision to use demonstration ballots, not official precinct-marked ballots, as "emergency supplies" results in unequal treatment of voters' ballots. Here is your description of the process, again from the email to Mimi Kennedy:

"The Demonstrator/Emergency ballots are printed on yellow stock and are clearly identifiable. If use of these ballots is required, the ballots are deposited into the ballot box after voting just as regular ballots. They are accounted for in the closing procedures and sealed in the red ballot transfer box, which is precinct specific. Precincts where Demonstrator/Emergency ballots are issued are "snagged" upon receipt at the central office in Norwalk and held for additional process, which includes duplicating the emergency ballots onto precinct-specific ballot stock (bolding ours) prior to tabulation. These activities are conducted as part of the canvassing process for the election and as such are open to public observation and conducted in a transparent manner. "

This means that the voters who are entitled to a regular ballot will have their ballot treated as if they were voting provisionally, meaning their vote is duplicated during the canvass (after election day), and most important, their vote count is delayed.

Your "solution" begs the question -- If the official ballot stock is available at the RR/CC, why not just supply it to the voters at their precincts?

Certainly you would agree that, after the debacle of the double-bubble ballots in the February primary that effectively disenfranchised at least 19,000 voters, this is not the time to issue a "special" ballot or differently treated ballots to Los Angeles County voters a shortage emergency plan.

We request that one real ballot be allocated for each voter registered in each precinct. This is not the time in our nation's history to be parsing out ballots.

Copies of this letter will be faxed to each of the County Supervisors , City Council members, California Legislators and the Candidates.


Wendy Hughes, poll inspector, Concerned Pollworkers of Los Angeles

Sherri Andrews, poll worker, Concerned Poll Workers of Los Angeles

Melonie Magruder, poll inspector

Robin Gibson - Work the Vote Los Angeles

Sheri Myers - Work the Vote Los Angeles

Marci Winograd - Executive Board Member, Ca Dem Party

Stan West- Democracy for America

Brad Parker Valley Democrats United, President

Progressive Caucus of the CDP, Officer at Large

Platform Committee of the CDP

DSCC, Delegate, 42nd AD

Progressive Democrats of America, Board of Trustees

A.F. of M. Local 47

Ruth H Strauss, MD

Leslie A Fox

Linda Milazzo - Writer/Educator/Election Protection Advocate

Misako Miyagawar.

Taiji Miyagawa

Kim Kaufman, pollworker

Hedwin Naimark, Ph.D

Michael Jay

Margery Epstein

Josephine Ullrich

Anthony F Saidy, MD

Tania Anderson, Poll Inspector

Polling Station # 9000133A

Reseda, CA 91335

Janette Rainwater

Suzanne C. Benning

James M. Benning

Linda Abrams

Joan Hudson-Miller, poll worker

Ivan Huber, poll clerk

Carly Miller

Gene Rothman



Inspectors who are concerned about the ballot shortage: (this list will expand as more inspectors report to us.)

Sheila Andrews

Precinct #: 9000655A, Dist. 5

# of names on the roster: 1560+

# of VBMs so far: ~100

# of issued ballots: 800 (barely half the number of voters on the roster!)

She attended inspector training 10/31, and in response to another inspector's question about the ballot situation, they were simply told that they would probably have enough so basically not to worry.

Wendy Hughes

Precinct #: 9001096A

# of names on the roster: 1321

# of VBMs so far: ??

# of issued ballots: 800

Wendy received the blue supplemental pages and lavender VBMs that added 108 more voters and 116 more VBMs to the precinct, and another batch of supplementals will come Monday.

Jackie Franzen

Precinct # 9000511A North Hollywood

# of names on the roster: 1123

# of VBMs so far: 75

# of issued ballots: 650 (again, barely half the number of voters on the roster!)

She also wondered about a shortage; she has asked her coordinator about extra ballots, and the coordinator said she would try to find out for her. She didn't know if the coordinator was going to try to get more "real" ballots.

Melonie Magruder

As a 1st time poll inspector, I was alarmed when I found out that I had only received 850 ballots when there are 1400 people on my roster. No more than 25% of them are VBM, which means that I might be faced with not having enough ballots to offer voters in this historic election which, by all accounts, will be turning out record numbers of voters.

I am very concerned and have tried to telephone my precinct coordinator.

Precinct #9002239A

# of names on the roster: 1400 + supplemental

# of VBMs so far: ~25%

# of issued ballots: 850

(again, barely half the number of voters on the roster!)

Alvin Fletcher

Precinct # 41000458A. Manhattan Beach

# of names on roster: 1052 voters

# of VBMs so far: 209

# of issued ballots: 700

# of demo ballots: 400

# of supplemental voters: 27, 5 VBM

It appears that we are 165 ballots short if we had a 100% turnout.

Precinct in North Hollywood

#of names on the roster: 1055
# of VBMs so far: 446 inactive voters

# of issued ballots: 850

55 new voters 60 new VBM to be added to roster

Previous requests for appropriate numbers of ballots:

On August 20, 2008, at the COVC meeting at Norwalk, Robin Gibson personally requested to Dean Logan that he allocate ballots for 100% of the voters on the rosters, instead of the mandatory 75%.

Robin's testimony:

"Because we knew that this coming election was expected to have a far greater voter turnout than normal. He replied that, given the number of vote by mail voters in L.A. County, he was supplying well over 100% of the necessary ballots. He calculated vote by mail voters as approximately 40% of the electorate. I made the same request again on October 24 at the poll monitor coordinator training session to Tim McNamara, who gave the same reply."

Michael Jay and Jim Horwitz met with Dean Logan on Weds., Sept 24. In attendance were Registrar Logan; Asst. Registrar Tim McNamara; Johnny Harrington, Video Production Specialist; Charles Darden, Staff Development Specialist; and Jeff Klein, Staff Development Specialist.

Michael's testimony:

"In a 2-1/2 hour meeting, one of the first issues I raised, if not THE first, was, can we please have 100% ballots for election day? They went through the math of the ballots they could discount: for absentee voters, for those who don't vote, etc. I still begged them, saying something such as, Who cares? Why make it close? Why are we parsing %s for such a critical need? How expensive can it be to print and ship paper? Send 100%, or at least something like 95%. They were very confident that their formula would over-do it, and we'd be fine."

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diva77 Donating Member (999 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-03-08 01:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. excellent letter! Thanks, Robin, for all the great work you've been doing!
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