There was a very important informational hearing in Los Angeles on Friday, 3/7/08 before the chairs of three (3) CA State Senate and Assembly committees and Secretary of State Debra Bowen reviewing problems with the 2/5/08 Presidential Primary election. Examples shown specific to Riverside County include illegal counting out of view of the public, unsecured voting machines, a "yellow button" that allows voters to vote repeatedly, and vote memory cards tossed into the back of an open bed pickup truck in Riverside County. The video is on YouTube right now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s-3L5ETcTE.
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The above is a video of just one person’s testimony (mine) out of nearly 50 or more who testified for over five (5) hours. Please also go to http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5777#more-5777 to get more information about this incredibly historic and hopeful event. More videos of others’ testimony will likely appear on the Bradblog in the next day or two.
This was an absolutely historic hearing. The chairs of THREE very important legislative committees in CA took testimony for over five hours in what was booked as a 3-hour "Joint Informational Hearing - Discussion of Problems Faced by Voters at the 2008 Presidential Primary Election."
The three Democratic legislators who all expressed very, very strong concerns regarding election integrity were:
1. Assemblymember Curren Price, Chair of the Asembly Elections and Redistricting Committee
2. Senator Ron Calderon, Chair of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment, and Constitutional Amendments Committee (formerly chaired by Debra Bowen when she was a senator) and
3. Senator Jenny Oropeza, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Integrity of Elections.
Two other senators, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Dean Flores rounded out the elected state officials there to find out what the heck is really going on out in the trenches.
Invited speakers were from the well-known organizations such as the California Association of County Elections Officials (CACEO)- President Steve Weir, League of Women Voters, Common Cause, California Voter Foundation, and Los Angeles and Contra Costa Counties.
I must agree with Brad Friedman that Kim Alexander of California Voter Foundation gave incredibly passionate and razor-sharp focused comments on what is needed before the June 3 state primary election.
SOS Debra Bowen, as usual, showed her acute awareness of the issues and was warmly embraced by the panel and the audience in general.
There was general agreement among the senators and assemblymember in attendance that there is need for significant legislative change, possibly on an “urgency” basis, to clean up a number of electoral issues that continue to plague the system. Strong statements by Senator Jenny Oropeza indicated there is a likelihood of passing “urgency legislation” that would take effect immediately.
After appearing before legislative bodies (including the Board of Supervisors) on many occasions, I must say this session left me with the most hope that there actually WILL be action taken to protect our elections.
My compliments to Secretary of State Debra Bowen for staying nearly the entire session and listening intently to all speakers, including many many Election Integrity Advocates who were relegated to speak last under “Public Testimony”.