Guest Blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us
California's Proposition 8 --- a Constitutional amendment to ban the right to same-sex marriage in the state --- currently has more "yes" (in favor of discrimination) votes than "no" votes tallied, 52.2% to 47.8%, according to the CA Sec. of State's website. This represents a difference of 434,830 votes. But according to the No on 8 campaign, three to four million provisional and vote-by-mail ballots remain uncounted...
There may also be ballots uncounted due to machine breakdowns, misplaced computer memory cards (oh, that wouldn't happen, would it?) and the like.
According to Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office, the number of uncounted ballots may be available as early as tomorrow. Counting them will take significantly longer, as each provisional ballot must be individually qualified.
Fortunately, the No on 8 campaign gets it. This statement adorns their homepage:
Statement by No on Prop 8 Campaign on Election Status
Roughly 400,000 votes separate yes from no on Prop 8 – out of 10 million votes tallied.
Based on turnout estimates reported yesterday, we expect that there are more than 3 million and possibly as many as 4 million absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted.
Given that fundamental rights are at stake, we must wait to hear from the Secretary of State tomorrow how many votes are yet to be counted as well as where they are from.
It is clearly a very close election and we monitored the results all evening and this morning.
As of this point, the election is too close to call.
Because Prop 8 involves the sensitive matter of individual rights, we believe it is important to wait until we receive further information about the outcome.
NO on Prop 8
NO on Prop 8
Yet according to the Sacramento Bee, "Frank Schubert, manager of the Yes on 8 campaign, declared victory shortly after midnight --- but opponents called that declaration 'presumptuous'." We agree.
Proposition 8, if it passes, would eliminate the right to same sex marriage through an amendment to California's Constitution.
Uncounted ballots aren't the only issue here. According to OurVoteLive, the website associated with the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline for election problems, over 1,800 problems have been logged in California so far. What percentage of people who have problems report them? Likely it's a low number. Many of the irregularities in yesterday's election will take some time to surface. And we'll be watching and helping bring them to the surface and to your attention.
Here's a sample from the OurVoteLive online database for California:
Voter Intimidation Problems:
#31091: Caller reports that San Diego Minute Men have announced that they intend to be "monitoring" Latino voters in area polling places.
Voting Equipment Problems:
#61864: Voting machine is shredding ballots in Fresno ...
#63263: Scanner for F-K ballots rejecting all ballots as invalid. Alternate electronic voting machine not operational ...
#60678: Voter was told all machines were down and that he could not vote. They did not know how long would take, and voter had to return to work. The polling place took back his ballot and ripped it up. Voter still wants to vote.
Polling Place Problems:
#92413: Cops pulling over multiple people as they approach the polling place. Polling place is the National Guard Recruiting Center ... (Note: This probably should have been logged also as a voter intimidation problem.)
#92971: TOP OF BALLOT COUNTER WAS NOT ON CORRECTLY (IT WAS ON BACKWARDS) until 10am, 200 ballots fell out crumpled, they put them into the box- AND BALLOTS WERE CRUMPLED AND THEY SHOVED THEM BACK INTO THE BOX, NOT SURE THEY ARE COUNTED...(emphasis in original)
#94051: 2 separate ballots were given, one for presidential and one for propositions. The presidential ballot was run through the machine, but the other machine was broken ...
So, where are we? Thousands of ballots yet uncounted. Nearly two thousand reports, many of which could call counts into question. And that doesn't even touch the myriad dirty tricks that kept people from voting: tricks that made the lines too long for voters to wait. That made polling places too far away for voters to reach. That swindled voters out of their votes via phone calls reporting that Obama had won in a landslide and west coast voters need not vote. And that's just a sample of the things we know about so far.
It's hard to wait to find out whether our Constitution is being used as a weapon against us. But wait we must. As we say so often here at The BRAD BLOG, it's more important to get results accurately than to get them quickly.
While you're waiting, though, there's something important you can do in any state. Get a team of volunteers together and observe the process of provisional ballot qualification at your county elections office. Watch to make sure that decisions are made equitably and according to law about which ballots will and will not be counted. Tips about how to do this are available at NoMoreStolenElections.org, authored by this blogger.