Lenore Albert Inadvertently Makes Kimberly Ellis’s Case That an Independent Forensic Audit is Absolutely Necessary


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Kimberly Ellis issued a press release yesterday providing additional details of her claim that the process of the California Democratic Party’s May 20 vote for CDP Chair was SO compromised that the actual winner cannot be determined without an independent forensic audit.  Whether that audit will occur is a main topic of discussion within the CDP right now.

Still likely Chair-to-be Kimberly Ellis and Ravenous Attention Vampire and Confused Legal Analyst Lenore Albert.

We’ll start with Ellis’s press release, then proceed to Lenore Albert’s rebuttal published in Liberal OC, then review a short rebuttal I made to Lenore in the CADEM Facebook post, and finally end with my returning to the “narrator mode” of these first two paragraphs and pulling apart the rest of Lenore’s argument like warm taffy.  Note that links in underlined blue are in the original; I’ve also highlighted some text that I find notable in green.  Text where Lenore starts straying way off topic at the end is rendered in gray.

[1]  Ellis’s Press Release

“Ineligible Votes Swung Democratic Party Chair Election to Bauman”

For Immediate Release
Contact: 510-xxx-yyyy

OAKLAND, Calif. (June 21, 2017): Initial inquiries into nearly 300 questionable ballots in the unsettled May 20 contest for state Democratic Party chair show that Eric Bauman was named the winner based on ineligible votes and votes of dubious authenticity that may be set aside upon further review. Bauman benefited from several votes cast by non-Democrats, in clear violation of Party rules.

Excluding the more than 200 ballots with signature mismatches and questions around dues-payment eligibility requirements, at least 47 ballots for Bauman in the chair’s contest were ineligible or bear the hallmarks of organized manipulation. More than 30 ballots for Bauman should have been, but were not, disqualified.

Several Bauman proxy votes, or ballots cast in the name of Democratic delegates who were not present, came from people who were not qualified under Party eligibility standards to cast ballots, were not registered to vote, or who were not registered as Democrats.

Ineligible votes credited to Bauman include:

* 2 votes from proxies who are not Democrats;
* 4 votes from proxies who don’t appear to be registered to vote in California;
* 14 votes by proxies without proper authorization forms available, which are required for voting in the Party;
* 16 votes on ballots with no signature on the credential sign-in sheet;
* 3 votes from proxy voters who are registered at a different place from information provided on their proxy forms;
* 5 votes from proxy voters who did not sign in at the convention, a requirement to vote under Party rules;
* 1 vote from a proxy residing outside the district of his assigning delegate;
* 1 vote from a proxy residing outside the county of her assigning delegate; and
* 1 person who carried a proxy and his own vote, in violation of state Party rules that limit members to casting 1 ballot.

In addition to these 47 ballots, another 134 ballots for Bauman show a mismatch between the signatures on the ballot and the sign-in rosters at convention credentialing tables.

There are also more than 100 other votes for Bauman for which dues payment information or other required fees for participation in the convention cannot be verified. Because of the extraordinary reliance on lawmakers’ staff and former staff of the Party, the initial inquiry indicates that the usual dues requirements were circumvented in scores of cases, the lion’s share of them for Bauman supporters.

Last week, the Los Angeles Times called on Eric Bauman to allow the vote in the chair’s contest to go before a full, fair, and independent review (http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-93692548/). That call echoes those from Democratic delegates from throughout the state (http://www.sacbee.com/opini…/…/soapbox/article154648059.html), including in the Spanish-language press (https://laopinion.com/…/partido-democrata-de-california-ve…/).

Some of the ineligible ballots cast in error but counted for Bauman involve serious violations of Party procedures. These include double votes, votes from proxy voters who flouted eligibility requirements for such stand-ins, and the proxy votes by unregistered voters and voters who are not Democrats, all of which are forbidden under Party bylaws.

Tallies released the night of the vote, May 20, at the Party’s convention, showed Bauman edging progressive nonprofit executive Kimberly Ellis by a scant 62 votes, 1,493 to 1,431. Ellis and her team immediately raised questions about the balloting and its validity, refusing to concede the contest.

If even 55 ineligible votes had been eliminated from Bauman’s total, a revote would have been called for under Party bylaws at the Sunday morning session of the convention. If 63 votes had been eliminated, the election outcome would be reversed.

How did non-Democrats come to vote for Bauman — proxies for David Heywood and Alejandra Valles in L.A. County — or people living outside of AD 48 or Monterey County — proxies for Deborah Quintero and Linda Gonzalez — vote as representing Democrats in those locations when living elsewhere? These votes raise additional questions about the conduct of the election and its announced outcome.

Unlike many other elections, ballots in the California Democratic Party are tailored to each eligible voter and signed by the voter, with all documentation from the election due to be preserved. This makes review of the ballots, based on the Party’s bylaws and commitment to transparency, both possible and a common presumption of Party leaders and rank and file members.

With votes from ineligible voters playing such a pivotal role in the outcome of the election, a thorough, impartial and independent review of the ballots and related materials takes on added importance. The California Democratic Party owes its leaders, its millions of members statewide, and its future nothing less.

[2] LENORE’S RESPONSE TO ELLIS

“This is a short response to Kimberly Ellises’ latest ‘press release’.”

This is a short response to Kimberly Ellises’ [sic] latest “press release.” First, during my review on June 16, 2017, there was substantial compliance supporting the election results. Kimberly’s release only contains four (4) names, not 47 and surely not 300.  She does not name any “non-democrats” and I hope you take those statements with a grain of salt because when she does name, names there is no legitimacy to her claims.

Initially she tried throwing a few names which ended up being people practicing their jewish faith who had representatives sign their ballots.

Now, she has named four voters, which like the religious voters, can be easily explained away. For example, according to my notes Lydia Chavez was the proxy for David Heywood who resides in Anaheim, California. There was nothing improper with Lydia Chavez casting her vote or David Heywood. Ellis states that the proxy was improper because David Heywood was in “L.A. County” but he is registered and resides in Anaheim, California which is located in Orange County, California.

The next name on her list is delegate Alejandro Valles.  According to my notes Luis Fuentes was Alejandro Valles’ proxy.  Alejandro Valles held a green proxy which means any registered democrat in the state of California could be his proxy.  Luis Fuentes did not have to live in Los Angeles County, California. According to my notes, I also checked the signatures and every checked out on this ballot during my review.

Unfortunately, I did not get to the ballot of Deborah Quintero who is listed as being from El Monte or Linda Gonzalez from Bloomington, California.

If I had gotten to review those ballots, I am confident that I would be able to show you why, once again, Kimberly Ellis is doing nothing more than screaming the “sky is falling” when actually everyone should be outdoors enjoying this beautiful summer day.

For those that are not delegates, I want to take a moment and explain what makes a vote count. In the bylaws, there are four elements to meet in order to have a vote count. The delegate or proxy must have:

(1) paid their dues to This Committee, or had them waived,

(2) registered for the meeting, if registration was required,

(3) obtained their credential prior to the closing of credentialing, if credentials were issued for the meeting, and

(4) completed and returned to the proper authority any ballot that may be issued

Please note, it does not state that the proxy form must be filled out in perfect order on the correct form.  It is the intent of the delegate that is the goal here and to allow that delegate represent his or her community, not disenfranchisement of voters. 

That does not mean that the process was not secure. No one just walks up and obtains a credential. They wait in line. They must sign their name on a registration sign in sheet and on their credential in order to obtain the credential which is a piece of paper that they wear around their neck in order to obtain their ballot. When they obtain their ballot, they sign their name again on a voting reg. sheet.  They also sign their name again on the ballot itself, then they go off and cast their ballot and put it in a box to be counted later.

Some people registered and then they gave a proxy to another person to do the actual voting, so it is impossible to try to compare the registration sign in sheet with the voting registration sheet or the ballot.  During voting the same person who signed the voting registration sheet also signed the ballot. This act was done simultaneously or at the voting table or at the table next to the box (for those of us that have to be reminded to do so). Even if the signatures do not look like that they match, it was the same person because there was one entrance, and one exit and they were different doors. That person was absolutely present to vote and it would make no sense to sign for your ballot and then take it outside and hand it off to someone else. There is no reason for that to happen.

All of these allegations by Kimberly Ellis really come down to misinformation that can be easily explained. Mounting this attack, is really an attack against the reputation of the people who work credentials. As a member of the Credentials committee, I can represent that I have seen nothing but the utmost professionalism by the committee in checking credentials in a very nonpartisan manner.

To date, nothing Kimberly Ellis has alleged with particularity has been true. It is only keeping the party divided by pouring gasoline on the fire that she will not let die where Bernie Sanders delegates felt mistreated at the DNC convention in 2016.

To Kimberly Ellis, responsibility to your constituents includes not creating, inciting or allowing negative rumors to run amok to the extent that the general public hears them and reacts in fear because that is how unsubstantiated fear is manifested. We should never rule or persuade from a position of fear.

As a final note, I am not saying there is no room for improvement. I think there is. One item directed at officer elections especially that I think we should change is the location. Since the election occurs every four years, it always takes place in Northern California, giving Northern California an edge with voter turnout. The next election should be in Southern California and then it should rotate between the North and South every four years, until we find a suitable place in central California, of course.

[3] Greg Diamond’s Comment on Facebook Answering Lenore’s Reprinted Response

“Lenore has made a great case for an independent audit.”

Lenore has made a great case for an independent audit. If that ballot-by-ballot examination could be done with EVERY challenge issued by the KE campaign — which, remember, was forced to stop its operations prematurely! — and negated, then KE would presumably concede and we’re all kumbaya.

EXCEPT FOR ONE THING: Not only is Lenore a poor source, but she misses many of the ways that it could be TRUE that, say, David Heywood (of OC) had a proxy in OC rather than LA, and yet the vote could still have been illegal. I’ll presume for now that there isn’t a separate David Heywood in LA at hand, which (if it’s THAT one at issue) would of course negate her criticism entirely.

Off the top of my head:

(1) KE’s letter misidentifies Heywood as having been from LA. Well, where did the KE campaign get THAT idea? Could have been a mistake — but it also could have been that that’s what some form ASSERTED, in which event that form was probably NOT filled out BY HEYWOOD.

(2) The form never identifies the county of residence of the proxy. Lenore implies that the accusation was that the proxy was from OC but Heywood wasn’t from LA but from OC so everything is fine. But — the letter never states where Haywood’s proxy was from! In fact, the allegation made about HEYWOOD’S proxy is not that she was from a different county — but that she was was a non-Democrat!

COMPARE:

“For example, according to my notes Lydia Chavez was the proxy for David Heywood who resides in Anaheim, California. There was nothing improper with Lydia Chavez casting her vote or David Heywood. Ellis states that the proxy was improper because David Heywood was in “L.A. County” but he is registered and resides in Anaheim, California which is located in Orange County, California.”

WITH:

“How did non-Democrats come to vote for Bauman — proxies for David Heywood and Alejandra Valles in L.A. County[?]”

Lenore, with characteristic care, has conflated the NEXT part of the sentence in Ellis’s letter which talks about OTHER delegates having improperly had out-of -district proxies:

“— or people living outside of AD 48 or Monterey County — proxies for Deborah Quintero and Linda Gonzalez — vote as representing Democrats in those locations when living elsewhere?”

All of you who claim to have been impressed with Lenore’s exciting find on this point should hang your heads in shame for having missed that.

(DIGRESSION: How DID Lenore supposed gain the information needed to (a) identify Heywood as one of the people whose ballots she needed to check during her ONE day of poring through the ballots the week BEFORE this letter came out on Wednesday, on the basis of a “county of residency” mismatch; (b) know that they had misidentified Heywood as being from LA when supposedly this information hadn’t yet been given to the CRC OR Bauman Campaign, if they prepped her, until now; and (c) determine that the proxy was herself from OC without knowing the basis for the charge?)

(3) There are plenty of other possible reasons why David Heywood’s proxy might not have been eligible to vote. Such as — she wasn’t actually at the convention either! Or, she wasn’t credentialed in time! Or, someone else credentialed her (or some other placeholder to be named later) in time — but it wasn’t her doing going through the credentialing line!

I’ll stop generating possibilities there — but I would like to know what you guys up there think about this member of the Credentials Committee’s views on this:

“Some people registered and then they gave a proxy to another person to do the actual voting, so it is impossible to try to compare the registration sign in sheet with the voting registration sheet or the ballot. During voting the same person who signed the voting registration sheet also signed the ballot. This act was done simultaneously or at the voting table or at the table next to the box (for those of us that have to be reminded to do so). Even if the signatures do not look like that they match, it was the same person because there was one entrance, and one exit and they were different doors. That person was absolutely present to vote and it would make no sense to sign for your ballot and then take it outside and hand it off to someone else. There is no reason for that to happen.”

Right — there’s no reason for anyone to leave the room. The scam could have been that the ballots were signed by someone else, in the member’s name, in advance. (In fact, they could have ALREADY BEEN IN THE BALLOT BOX by the time that the putative proxy voter showed up. So it’s FAR FROM “impossible to try to compare the registration sign in sheet with the voting registration sheet or the ballot.” In fact, it’s NECESSARY if one wants to suss out a fraud — because a professional auditor is not going to take the conclusion that “during voting the same person who signed the voting registration sheet also signed the ballot” AS A GIVEN!

I thank Lenore Albert for making the above argument and leading me to consider yet another way that the election could have been illegally fixed. Of course, if you were doing something like THAT then you might want to run those people whose votes might have been cast ahead of time and signed by someone else through a special line in the hall where the election was taking place at a time when not very many other voters would be present — which HAPPENS to fit with exactly WHAT I SAW HAPPENING in the hall between about 5:10 and 5:30.

Keep on writing, Lenore! You’re INVALUABLE!

[4] OJB Exclusive!  Greg’s Meticulous Picking-Apart of the Rest of Lenore’s Statement

“Keep Checking In — This Labor of Love is a Work-in-Progress!”

Lenore, as some of you know, has filed a complaint with the CDP calling for my removal from membership in the State Party’s Central Committee (the “DSCC”), to be heard at the CDP’s August E-Board meeting hereabouts in Anaheim, so I’ve had a chance to become familiar with the reckless abandon with which she uses legal concepts, terms, facts, semi-facts, miscarried blastocytes of facts, and un-facts dressed up as simulacra of facts.  I’m going to try to apply that expertise to the rest of her complaint here, but I’m not going to hurry to complete it.  Other stories to cover!  Here we go:

  1. “… there was substantial compliance supporting the election results”: “substantial compliance” is a term from contract law that says essentially that if a contract calls for compliance with specific details — say, oak veneer kitchen cabinets when beech veneer was requested — you don’t void the entire contract (leaving the complainant to reap the benefits of getting 95% of what they wanted) on that basis, although there may still be damages assessed.  It should be pretty clear that, for several reasons I will not belabor, this “hey, close enough!” concept would not apply to counting and validating the vote in a close election.
  2. Falsely accusing Orthodox Jews (plural) of wrongdoing: It was one identity released, actually, not “a few,” and it wasn’t the delegate’s name, or even the sort-of proxy’s name: it was the employer of that person —the CDP’s now-attorney! — which led the Gentile accused person to publicly identify himself.  He himself was a voting delegate, who signed his own name to a ballot belonging to an Orthodox Jewish delegate whose professed religious beliefs require him not to hold and write with a pen on the Jewish Sabbath, during which time voting was held.  The handful of other Jewish delegates who sought and received the accommodation of what is usually called a “Shabbes Goy” seem at this point to have gone through proper channels to receive it; these people just asked a questionably trained volunteer if they could do it — and then did it in such a way that rightly raised a red flag on the part of internal auditors (the lead one of whom is herself Jewish.)  This led to robust accusations of anti-Semitism (!) against the Ellis campaign.  But in fact, there was no claim that so-called “frum” Orthodox Jews should not receive this accommodation, just that it could not be done in such a way that it led to one person voting twice — and thus leaving a paper trail that any competent and alert auditor would catch.  Whether it was “wrong” — it was definitely “wrong,” in the sense that circling a candidate’s name rather than ticking the adjacent box is “wrong” — is analytically separate from the question of whether the vote should count.  I think that it should count; I don’t think that the Ellis campaign has taken a position on it.  It has taken the position that those calling them anti-Semitic for noting the discrepancy are meshugenah, with which I entirely agree.
  3. Kimberly’s release only contains four (4) names, not 47 and surely not 300: Right!  It only contains four names — enough to give the CDP’s reviewing committee (which has the power to grant an independent forensic audit) a taste of what’s there without publicly accusing too many people of misdeeds when, as they claim, they were not even given a chance to finish their investigation due to the intervention of Bauman’s personal election lawyer, who is now also the CDP’s newly appointed (by Bauman) lawyer.  They want to make only accusations that they think are valid.  The CDP’s Compliance Review Committee (“CRC”) — composed of the Chairs and Co-Lead Chairs of the CDP’s top two committees dealing with this sort of internal issue, the Rules and Credentials Committee (the latter of which includes recent appointee Lenore Albert herself!), five of six of whom voted for Bauman and none for Ellis — seems to be as leaky as one would expect in politics.  It has demanded the submission of specific names of compromised ballots or voters, considering itself competent to do an “independent audit” of the results. a demand that Bauman himself has steadfastly refused to endorse or oppose.  When these names would be submitted, I believe that the Ellis campaign is probably concerned that they will be leaked — least meritorious claims (not confirmed for lack of time to complete their review) first — to discredit it and to raise the ire of and build sympathy towards those “charged.”  The Ellis position is that the CRC IS NOT and CANNOT SERVE AS an “independent auditor” for this purpose, so they need not demand all of the evidence to complete an audit, but just enough of it to decide whether an impartial outside audit is warranted.  That’s why “not 47, not 300” names: they’ll very likely leak — and the CDP will (implausibly) blame any such leak on Ellis.  If Eric Bauman wants to share responsibility for the horrors that may attend their public release, he himself should demand that all of the names be released.
  4. She does not name any “non-democrats”:  Well, she identify them by identity — enough for even Lenore to find them — even if not by name itself.  Lenore doesn’t get this only because she misreads the complaints that “these person’s proxies were non-Democrats” as instead being that “these people couldn’t be proxies because they didn’t live in the right place.”  No, that’s the NEXT pair of names of proxy-giving delegates mentioned!
  5. The first pair of delegates names had proxies who DID SO live in places where they could serve!:  OK, let’s presume that that’s right.  Those two aren’t being accused of living in the wrong place.  They are accused of not being Democrats, as determined by reference AT THAT TIME to the information then on file with Registrar of Voters of their home county.
  6. She didn’t get to look at the last pair of delegate names: How CONVEEEEENIENT, given that THEY WERE the ones who had been accused of ineligibility due to living in the wrong area!
  7. No one just walks up and obtains a credential: Well, they’re not SUPPOSED TO, but we don’t actually KNOW that they didn’t.  We actually DO require a form of identification of voting — the same one that the state does in public elections — called a “signature.”  It can be checked against a prior signature known to be correct; and any few discrepancies (due, for example, to the impairment or loss of use of the writing hand) can be investigated one by one.  An independent audit will check, using contracted impartial handwriting experts if need be.  The CRC presumably will not — and frankly wouldn’t have credibility if they did so on their own.  The problems generated by their not checking signatures — let alone excusing mismatches in signatures used during credentialing (which closed Saturday at 1:00) and voting (from 4:00 to 7:00 that same day) — are largely addressed in the Facebook comment in the section above.  Basically, it creates a huge security hole that one could drive a truck through — and I have a terrible feeling that I personally saw part of that driving team in action.  More on that before Friday at 5:00!

 


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)