Citizen’s Oversight Project Registers a “Big Win” for Election Integrity in San Diego

martha_sullivan_and_ray_lutz_t658While updating us on the outcome, Ray Lutz of the Citizens’ Oversight Project informed us that:

Yes, we have received the DECISION from Judge Joel Wohlfeil in our Election Audit Lawsuit! Big picture: We win!

Bad news is that we did not win on every issue and we have another round of objections before we get a JUDGMENT. But this is a HUGE MILESTONE we must acknowledge as it is extremely news worthy as we near election day.

Help support this lawsuit aimed at making election audits include all of the ballots, not just a portion of the ballots.

 

Here is the press release:

PRESS RELEASE / MEDIA ADVISORY — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Court >Decision< in Election Fraud Lawsuit Court finds: “…in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendants MICHAEL VU and COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO…” “We want clean and complete — not sham — election audits.” >>>> MEDIA ADVISORY <<<<
PRESS CONFERENCE AND ACTIVIST RALLY

WHEN: Nov 1, 2016, 11AM PT

WHERE: San Diego County Registrar of Voters
5600 Overland Ave, San Diego, CA 92123

WHAT: Plaintiff Ray Lutz and Attorney Alan Geraci will speak on the
Statement by the court in this case and invite activists to speak on the issue.

RSVP: Citizens who wish to attend, please RSVP at this link:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1690443401284373

LIVE STREAM: We will be live streaming this event!

Note: We may conduct the press conference on the far south side of the parking lot to
avoid construction noise and to avoid blocking any active early voting.

SAN DIEGO (October 31, 2016) — Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil published a 34-page “Statement of Intended Decision” in the case of “Lutz vs. Vu” — Citizens Oversight, Inc. and Raymond Lutz vs. San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu, et al.

The conclusion starts with the phrase “The Court finds, as set forth above, in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendants MICHAEL VU and COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO…”

Plaintiff Ray Lutz, National Coordinator for Citizens Oversight explained, “The statement rules that ALL Vote-By-Mail ballots must be included in the 1% manual tally audit but does not also require all provisional ballots. So we got about 75% of what we asked for. We will not stop fighting until all ballots are included in the audit process. This win will significantly improve election integrity in one aspect of the process, if the Registrar complies with the ruling.”

Please note that this is not the final judgment of the court. Both sides can file objections to the statement, with a Status Conference scheduled for December 1, 2016, just prior to the certification deadline.

Lutz sent a letter to the top 24 Registrar of Voters (ROVs) in the state including a “Technical Brief” which explains to ROVs how to conduct the manual tally so it includes all ballots within the 30-day period after the election as mandated by law. So it can be done, if they want to follow the law.

All interested citizens and activists are invited to attend the event on Nov. 1. The event will also be video recorded and live-streamed for those across the country interested in this important issue.

Plaintiffs Citizens’ Oversight, Inc. (also known as Citizens’ Oversight Projects, or “COPs”) and Raymond Lutz (who originally submitted the case pro per to the court prior to retaining attorney Alan Geraci of CARE Legal Group) claim that San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Michael Vu, improperly omitted about 39% of the ballots from the election audit, or about 285,000 ballots.

This leaves a big hole for undetectable hacking to occur either by a compromised employee or by external hackers with access to the central tabulator, or simply mistakes in tabulating machines. Clearly, such blatant violation of the election code is a form of election fraud.

Ray Lutz, National Coordinator for Citizens Oversight explains, “San Diego County has been shortcutting the manual tally process for years. They admit that in the June primary election they omitted about 39% of the ballots but they say some other counties use similar procedures, it is too expensive to do it right, and they have discretion to leave out those ballots. Our election officials must follow the law or it undermines voter confidence in the outcome of the election.”

Full information about the lawsuit can be found at this link:
http://copsiwiki.org/Common/ElectionAuditLawsuit

An important piece of evidence was the complete history of Senate Bill SB-1235 from 2006 by then State Senator Debra Bowen to amend Election Code Section 15360. This bill first added the requirement that Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballots be included, along with all ballots cast in person at precincts (including provisional ballots) or at satellite locations in the audit process. This set of documents is available at this link: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1704 .

One key issue is whether provisional ballots cast in person at precincts were intended to be included in the 1% manual tally audit selection process. The bill originally included an explicit mention of “provisional ballots” in the bill as introduced but those words were deleted in the August 7, 2006 revision. The San Diego Registrar claims the deletion means they need not include provisional ballots while plaintiffs say the wording is simply to remove redundancy, since “ballots cast at precincts” does include provisional ballots, and legally, once a provisional ballot is validated, it is to be treated like any other ballot.

Interestingly, when the bill was submitted to Governor Schwarzenegger, the cover letter, the letter from the Secretary of State, and other letters mentioned the idea that provisional ballots were still to be required by the bill. Even CACEO, the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, sent a letter to the governor on Sept. 15, 2006 that said they were changing their position from Support If Amended to Oppose because they did not get the changes they wanted, meaning VBM and Provisional ballots were still to be included in the audit. (See bottom numbering page 105 of the SB1235 history package). Sadly, election officials decided to flout the law, even though they did get a further revision in 2011 under AB-985 that lets them break up the process and get started sooner. AB985 has no effect at all if they don’t include all ballots in the process and only process those completed and tabulated by election night.

Judge Wohlfeil, in this statement of intended decision, did not require that provisional ballots be included in the 1% manual tally audit.

Citizens Oversight sent a letter Oct 13 to the most populous 24 counties in California, comprising 92% of the electorate, requesting that they comply with the law. A “Technical Brief” was included with this letter explaining how they could comply with Election Code 15360 and still meet the legal requirement that they certify the results within a month after election day.

Plaintiffs want the County to perform the audit according to the law for the November 8 election. But in addition, are requesting a full re-do of the June 7, 2016 primary election audit. This, due to an unannounced change in the method used in the audit midstream and the exclusion of nearly 40% of the ballots from audit scrutiny.

“This lawsuit is all about getting a clean audit from the San Diego Registrar of Voters. Without a complete audit, it opens the door for election fraud. The Registrar, Michael Vu, decided to leave out about 285,000 ballots from the audit procedure,” said Lutz.

Citizens Oversight is seeking volunteers in other election districts in California, most particularly the big four: LA, SD, OC, and Riverside, which account for about 50% of voters in the state. The top dozen counties in California are (in order): Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Bernardino, Sacramento, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Fresno, and Ventura. These 12 counties account for 76% of the electorate. Also, we want to extend the Snapshot Protocol — a procedure to carefully monitor the audit process — to any other states that mandate a post-election audit for the November election as well.

We must demand that our election officials follow the law!

Volunteers can sign up at: http://CitizensOversight.org/signup
Donations are accepted at http://CitizensOversight.org/donate

Please do not get fooled by copy-cat sites. CitizensOversight is the group doing the heavy lifting and will be offering training to teams in election districts so we will be effective in combating election fraud.

Citizens Oversight is a 501(c)3 Delaware corporation with primary offices in California and is a nonpartisan organization.

PRESS CONTACT:
Madge Torres — 760-613-7035 or 760-753-1886 / madgicalcats@gmail.com
Ray Lutz — 619-820-5321 / raylutz@citizensoversight.org

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Ray Lutz
Citizens’ Oversight Projects (COPs)
http://www.citizensoversight.org
619-820-5321

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