44% of Non-Partisan Cross-Over Ballots Went Uncounted in March '04, 42% Uncounted in June '06, Before Same Ballot Design Used Again for the February 2008 Super Tuesday Primary
As LA Times Gets Religion on Election Integrity Issues, But Doesn't Bother Apologizing For Their Failures to do so up to Now...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2008, 5:00pm PT  

Given the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters, and maybe even hundreds of thousands of voters, from Super Tuesday's Los Angeles County Democratic Primary election, which the county's current acting Registrar incorrectly claims to be "impossible" to count accurately, we believe it's time to place some blame squarely where it belongs for the entire mess.

A Los Angeles Times editorial this week, where, it seems, the paper may have finally found religion on the issue of Election Integrity, serves up a great starting point...

And to think we made fun of Florida.

As of today, we take back the jeers about hanging chads and the unkind comments about inept voters befuddled by butterfly ballots. Somehow it doesn't seem as funny when it happens at home --- voting irregularities in Los Angeles County will disqualify the ballots of thousands of people who went to the polls on Super Tuesday.

In 2000, Florida voters flubbed their choices for president because they were confronted with a ballot whose design was new to them. But that's not the case here. L.A. County officials have long used a ballot whose design was known to consistently disenfranchise unaffiliated voters. They simply did nothing about it.
...
Election officials are calling this a glitch, but the outcome was entirely foreseeable. In fact, it has happened before. In the March 2004 election, 44% of crossover ballots were unusable, and in June 2006, it was 42%. With numbers this high, the county registrar should have investigated this matter long before now.

So it happened before. 44% of Non-Partisan cross-over ballots went uncounted in March '04 and 42% in June '06. And yet, the county went into '08's primary with no plans to change a thing.

The woman who dreamt up the ridiculous scheme, former Los Angeles County Registrar and Diebold cover girl Conny McCormack, quit just over a month before the election, and knew about the problem from years past, but did nothing about it. Or, she didn't know about, and was thus criminally negligent in her job as chief voting official for the nation's most populous county...

We'll have more on the latest Los Angeles County "Double Bubble" mess over the weekend, but for the moment, speaking of "criminally negligent", we're glad to see that the LA Times has finally begun to come to terms with these sorts of issues --- at least if their editorial is any indication --- as sad as it is that they had to wait until it "happen[ed] at home."

As they write, "Election officials are calling this a glitch, but the outcome was entirely foreseeable." Indeed it was forseeable. Yet, the Times, arguably the state's paper of record, has done next to nothing to cover these issues for years, as The BRAD BLOG has pointed out over many of them. (Yes, we live in LA County, and the Times is our local hometown paper.)

Even after last week's Super Tuesday --- and even as it appeared that hundreds of thousands might be disenfranchised by McCormack's idiotic Non-Partisan cross-over voting scheme --- the Times played down the problems in an article headlined "Few election glitches, except for independents."

The sub-header of their editorial this week is: "Super Tuesday presented a unique choice. Too bad that a flawed ballot disenfranchised thousands in L.A."

To which we'd add: "Too bad the LA Times didn't give a damn about such issues until now."

We've come to expect irresponsible public officials like McCormack, and her inept compatriot in Sacramento, the thankfully-former Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, to get away with whatever they can. On the other hand, we also expect our fourth-estate, the mainstream media, to keep them honest and hold their feet to the fire on such issues. Instead, the LA Times has served as little more than a mouth-piece and surrogate for those public officials over the years, even going so far as to endorse the irresponsible McPherson when he was challenged by the thankfully-new Sec. of State Debra Bowen back in 2006. That election came long after the problems with California's voting systems were quite well known, and even long after McPherson had re-certified the Diebold voting system despite it's failure to comply with federal voting systems guidelines, and thus, it's failure to comply with California state law.

Again, we'll have more details on the latest "Double Bubble" trouble soon. But the above should be noted along the way in hopes that someone holds somebody accountable for this mess that McCormack's current replacement, acting Registrar Dean Logan, seems hell-bent on making even worse that it needs to be by telling LA County's Board of Supervisors that it would be "impossible" to determine the intent of the voters on all of those uncounted ballots.

Logan is out-and-out wrong. As The BRAD BLOG pointed out late this week, it would not be impossible to determine the accurate voter intent of nearly every single one of those currently uncounted ballots. Of course, that would take Logan actually bothering to count those ballots, which sort of seems like his job.