[UPDATED 6/13/06: Registrar Office Claims Election Night Absentee Numbers Were Wrong...By some 30,000]
By Brad Friedman on 6/9/2006, 3:59pm PT  

I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for this. There always is.

As ever, it underscores the need for verifiable elections, and begins to remind us that the folks who give a damn about this down there in San Diego County better damned well be keeping an eye on the chain of custody for those paper ballots and "paper trails" as they are being theoretically "counted" by the SD County Registrar of Voters.

According to this web page from the SD County's Registrar of Voters office, as of 5pm last night, the number of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots in the entire county of SD has decreased by 2,000 from the reported 68,500 that were announced as "still to be counted" on election night.

The number of votes in the now-questionable Busby/Bilbray U.S. House (CA-50) special election, however, has been increased by 8,000 votes.

Since the number of votes in the CA-50 race is a smaller subset of the total votes within SD County, one would think that if 2,000 absentee or provisionals were counted for the entire county, the number of votes in CA-50 might go up by a fraction of that number. Instead, they've gone up by 8,000, according to the county's website!

So far, I've been unable to get any comments from "quotable sources" at the Registrar's office on the reported updates. Very few in the office, apparently, are allowed to speak on record to the press for some reason.

As mentioned, no doubt there's a perfectly good explanation for all of this. Right? It's just that you and I may never know it. And, if we do, the election officials will likely never have to prove that their explanation --- or the veracity of their reported vote counts --- is valid. To anybody.

UPDATE 6/13/06: On Thursday afternoon, Cathy Glaser of the SD County Registrars office says she sent out the following notice on the heels of the above report. She's only just sent it to us today:

-----Original Message-----
From: Glaser, Cathy
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 5:50 PM
Subject: Election Results - Add on count

An add-on count was completed at 5 p.m. Thursday and posted to our website: www.sdvote.com
On the final report from election night, we estimated there were approx. 68,500 ballots left to be counted. That estimate was not accurate. It should have said approx. 95,000 left to be counted.

So - there were approx. 28,000 ballots added to the count today, and we are now estimating that approx. 66,500 remain.

More ballots will be added Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. - and then again Monday afternoon at 5 p.m.

Cathy Glaser
Campaign Services
San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office