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Thousands of San Diegans Lose Right to Vote

by Zenger's Newsmagazine Monday, May. 07, 2012 at 12:36 AM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

By centralizing the counting of ballots on election day, and tightening the criteria by which ballots are read, San Diego County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler is effectively — and illegally — disenfranchising many voters, particularly senior citizens, disabled people and voters whose primary language is not English.

Thousands of San Diegans Lose Right to Vote

Registrar’s Decision Targets Seniors, Disabled, Non-English Speakers

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler has made a procedural decision that will void the ballots of thousands in the June presidential primary election. They are mostly of seniors, some disabled and non-English voters.

Even an exposé by Channel 10 News in the last election did not change Seiler’s odd decision, which resulted in thousands of ballots not being counted.

The election process

For each election, there are hundreds of precincts through the county where voters can cast their ballots. A sworn election board runs each precinct.

After a voters fills out their ballot, they go into a sealed boxes and are delivered to collection center run by deputy sheriffs, according to a precinct inspector who asked that her name not be used because she is not authorized to speak by the registrar of voters.

It’s really a complex process and there is an army of volunteers and paid staff that runs each election.

The ballots can only be counted when the voter correctly fills in the small ovals next to all candidates. If they mark their ballot choices with an “X” or with a check mark, the ballot is voided.

Scanners do the counting

The ballots are counted by electronic (not on-line) scanners. The critical and possibly unlaw-ful decision by the Registrar of Voters ordered that the scanners be placed at the huge Registrar of Voters’ offices.

If a ballot was incorrectly marked with “X,” they are rejected by the scanners.

When the scanners were placed at each precinct, when a ballot is incorrectly marked with an “X,” rather than filling in the small ovals, the voter has the choice to re-cast their ballot.

The Registrar of Voters reportedly also didn’t think the volunteers at the scanners election precincts were smart enough to be able to operate the simple scanners.

Possible crimes involved

Section 14105 of the California Elections Code requires the Registrar of Voters to provide sufficient tabulation equipment to all sworn, precinct boards. The penal provisions (§1800 et sec.) of the Elections Code provides for fines of not more than ,000 for Seiler, or imprison-ment in a state prison for two years if convicted of violating the Election’s Code.

Some strongly urge our District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis (Candidate for mayor) to open a criminal investigation of Seiler.

Many precinct workers urge the Registrar of Voters to return the scanners to each precinct, as has been done before in San Diego.

The news media on election night will get the results much faster if the scanners are returned to each precinct.

The ballots of thousands of voters in San Diego County are not being counted by the current system.

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