Archive » September 23, 2010
DID YOUR VOTE REALLY COUNT?
By Steve Pappas
I ran for 3rd District Santa Barbara County Supervisor in the 2008 general election as a non-partisan and as a citizen determined to end corrupt politics on our community. I lost the race by a very small margin and planned to gracefully bow out; however, shortly after election night came and went I started noticing odd statistics about the election outcome. Upon reviewing the election results reported by the elections office, I immediately noticed a number of precincts in the UCSB area where the total number of votes cast exceeded 100 percent of the number of voters registered. When the nine UCSB precincts were compared to the total number of registered voters in the same precincts, the combined result was a 101 percent voter turnout rate. And in one precinct, the number of votes cast exceeded 130 percent of the number of registered voters. When has this ever happened before in an election? My thought was,
This data soon led to a request for a recount and subsequent filing of an election contest so that my campaign could try to figure out what had happened. Many questions continued to come up and every time I had to ask,
how and why?
• Thousands of first-time voters (most of whom were 18 or 19 years old) were not required to show any physical form of identification to a Santa Barbara County Elections Official before being registered.
• There were 9,943 new people registered in the UCSB/Isla Vista area between 9/26/08 and 10/20/08 (the last day to register). As a result of the 9,943 last-minute new registrations, the UCSB/Isla Vista area went from representing 10 percent of the voters in the 3rd District of Santa Barbara County to more than 33 percent.
• Of the 9,943 new registrations, 6,092 were turned into the elections office at the last moment, between 10/15 and 10/20.
• Of the 9,943 new registrations, more than 3,000 of the registration cards were held somewhere by someone, for one to three weeks before being turned in to the elections office. WHY? ALL 3,000-plus cards were still accepted by the election office in direct violation of Election Code Law.
• The person holding the position of UCSB Legislative Liaison at the time tried to cast two votes, one for him at the polls and a second vote by absentee ballot on behalf of another person that supposedly lived with him; as it turns out the second person did not live at the same address. When the absentee ballot envelope signature was compared to the signature on the voter registration card, the absentee ballot was rejected due to “no signature match”. The elections office took no further action to investigate why the signatures did not match.
• Thousands of new voter registration cards were turned in by a handfull of campus registration drive circulators all written in the same ink and in the same handwriting of the circulator. In a random sampling of these cards, when the signature of the “new voter” found on the registration card was compared (by a certified forensic handwriting expert) to the signature of the “same voter” found on the Absentee Ballot or Provisional Ballot envelope, 29 percent of the signatures did not match. The votes counted anyway.
• The handwriting expert also identified the leader of one of the campus registration drives as having seven distinctly different signatures; these seven different signatures appeared on hundreds of new registration cards.
WHY?ALL of these cards found their way through the Santa Barbara County Elections Office and were registered.
• A witness testified in Superior Court that a new voter registration card (containing her name and Social Security number) was on file at the elections office, but it was not the card that she filled out nor did she authorize anyone to fill out a card for her. No one took any further action to investigate this fraud claim.
The HOW and WHY remain unanswered.
The Pappas Campaign continues to work to toward exposing the issue of fraud in the 2008 election. To ensure that every legal vote counts in all elections, the Pappas Campaign is doing everything it can to guarantee that election code requirements and voting regulations in future elections are enforced.
California Election / Criminal Codes18500. Any person who commits fraud or attempts to commit fraud, and any person who aids or abets fraud or attempts to aid or abet fraud, in connection with any vote cast, to be cast, or attempted to be cast, is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years.
18501. Any public official who knowingly violates any of the provisions of this chapter, and thereby aids in any way the illegal casting or attempting to cast a vote, or who connives to nullify any of the provisions of this chapter in order that fraud may be perpetrated, shall forever be disqualified from holding office in this state and upon conviction shall be sentenced to a state prison for 16 months or two or three years.
18100. (a) Every person who willfully causes, procures, or allows himself or herself or any other person to be registered as a voter, knowing that he or she or that other person is not entitled to registration, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.
18101. Every person who knowingly and willfully completes, or causes or procures the completion of, in whole or in part, an affidavit of registration or a voter registration card, with the intent to cause the registration or reregistration as a voter of a fictitious person or of any person who has not requested registration or reregistration as a voter, is guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years, or in a county jail for not more than one year.
18102. Any deputy elections official or registration elections official who knowingly registers a nonexistent person, knowingly registers a person under a false name or address, or knowingly registers a person who is ineligible to register is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years or in county jail for not more than one year.
18002. Every person charged with the performance of any duty under any law of this state relating to elections, who willfully neglects or refuses to perform it, or who, in his or her official capacity, knowingly and fraudulently acts in contravention or violation of any of those laws, is, unless a different punishment is prescribed by this code, punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years, or by both.
18103. Any person who knowingly or negligently (a) interferes with the prompt transfer of a completed affidavit of registration to the county elections official, (b) retains a voter’s completed registration card, without the voter’s authorization, for more than three days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays, or after the close of registration, or (c) denies a voter the right to return to the county elections official the voter’s own completed registration card, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000).