By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2010, 9:51pm PT  

As long ago as October of 2007 we offered an article headlined "How is It That Barbara Dunmore Still Has a Job?" As of tonight, Dunmore, the now-former Riverside County, CA Registrar of Voters, doesn't have one anymore.

We've described Dunmore, over and again throughout the years, as "an unmitigated disaster" and "among the worst Registrars in the nation". And now she's finally been put out of the misery of the voters of Riverside, the first county in the nation to go to 100% touch-screen voting in 2000.

The $30 million bust of an investment into unsecure, oft-failed, easily manipulated, completely unverifiable touch-screen systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems was carried out by her predecessor Mischelle Townsend (who would famously say, on camera nonetheless, "Electronic touch-screen ballots are 100% accurate. We've not seen a single example in which their accuracy can be disputed."), but Dunmore succeeded over the years in doubling-down on Townsend's horrible decisions and consistently anti-voter policies....

Dunmore, who was hired in July 2004, was fired today, finally, by the county's Board of Supervisors, who, as we've also documented in great detail over the years, are no geniuses themselves. The last last last straw, apparently, was coming in late with election results, again, this year.

Following the 2008 general election, as we noted in 2009, Dunmore took months --- yes, months --- to fully reconcile the so-called "paper trails" from the county's touch-screen voting systems, as now required by CA in counties which still insist on forcing voters to use the devices, despite the Secretary of State having found them to be insecure. Dunmore then refused to bill Sequoia $160,000 for the reconciliation process, a cost they should have been responsible for according to the conditions of certification for those voting systems. Cash-strapped Riverside could certainly have used the money, but Dunmore refused to bill them, seemingly happier bilking the tax-payer rather than requiring her friends at the voting machine company to pay what they legally owed.

In 2006, when voters requested paper ballots, Dunmore had the temerity to have county employees re-key those ballots into the touch-screen systems anyway --- an extraordinary insult to voters.

We could go on and on about Dunmore's failing over the years, but you get the picture, as most folks paying attention --- other than perhaps the Riverside Board of Supervisors --- did long ago.

For the record, we should note that her failure to deliver results on the hours she'd promised this year seems to be a fairly lame reason to get rid of her. As always, we're more interested in results being reported accurately than quickly. But it seems this was simply the last straw for Dunmore after years of problems. Trouble is, given the systems and procedures that she's insisted on using for years, there is no real way for the voters of Riverside County to know that the results were accurate either, no matter how long Dunmore might have taken to deliver them.

Credit is due in no small part to activist Tom Courbat and his fellow Riverside County Election Integrity advocates of SAVE R VOTE. Courbat, a former RivCo employee himself, has doggedly pursued oversight on behalf of the county's citizens and accountability from Dunmore for years, all against extraordinary odds and personal costs. His post-election reports on failures and successes have been invaluable in highlighting the many problems in Riverside's elections, and have led to many improvements in procedures over the years.

On the eve of last week's mid-term election, we ran a video profile of Courbat, as one of three "Election Integrity Heroes" we highlighted that night, as models of citizen participation and watchdogging in our electoral system. The video, as recently shot by documentarian Dorothy Fadiman, director of Stealing America: Vote by Vote, follows again below in case you missed it the first time...


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