Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Is Ohio's gain San Diego's loss?

and is Michael Vu the right man for the job in San Diego?

Those are the questions citizens are asking, and now that's the question Fox6 News in San Diego is asking too.

Video link

Michael Vu was recently hired to be our Assistant Registrar of Voters right here in San Diego County. He's brought a fair bit of baggage with him. Vu was the Director of Elections in Cuyahoga County, Ohio until his recent resignation after public demands for his ouster, and a failed attempt by the election board to have him fired. Vu presided over the criminally mismanaged 2004 presidential election in Cuyahoga County, and two of his assistants have been sentenced to prison for their actions during that election. Vu stands by his his former employees, despite the fact that have been convicted of manipulating the audit process in order to avoid a recount.

The problems with elections in Cuyahoga County under Michael Vu were well documented by Robert F Kennedy Jr in his widely read article Was The 2004 Election Stolen?

The problem is compounded by the fact that the County of San Diego also saw fit to hire Deborah Seiler, former Diebold salesperson, to be San Diego's new Registrar of Voters. Ms Seiler has gone round and round through the revolving door between the public and private sector, and now she's come to work in a county where she was involved in selling us unreliable electronic voting equipment.

She's done that before...in Solano County, CA.

As the Diebold sales rep, Seiler sold Solano County nearly 1,200 touch-screen machines that were not federally tested or state certified. When the state banned the machines because of Diebold's business practices, the county had to find a replacement for the machines and pay Diebold more than $400,000 to get out of its contract.

...and then Solano County hired her.

Sorry, I can't explain that one.

This morning San Diego citizens, and representatives from the election watch dog group Psephos, and election integrity organization Secure Accurate Elections (SAE) attended the County Board of Supervisors meeting and demanded answers about the the County's disregard for the integrity of our elections. According to Psephos co-founder Paul Lehto, the San Diego County BOS heard
...numerous public comments taking on the supervisors for approving secret vote counting, buying millions more in machines the day before this public comment, and being unresponsive to polls stating that over 80% of San Diegans want a transparent voting system. Some citizens were getting so upset two got ejected from the room, but each public comment in favor of democracy was greeted with enthusiastic applause...

After the meeting, there was a citizen rally and press conference held jointly by Psephos and SAE. Today’s show of citizen opposition in response to the repeated missteps of the Board of Supervisors was focused on three major issues and concerns.

1. Transparency. Both in vote counting and also now in how hiring decisions are made in light of the shocking decisions to hire Michael Vu and Deborah Seiler. (According to Ken Simpkins of Psephos, Chief Administrative Office Ekard defends these hires and says he is past the point of considering the “tired old arguments against electronic voting”.)
2. Accountability. Mr Simpkins asked each Board of Supervisors member if they think secret vote counting is compatible with democracy, and also wanted to know if any elected officials in San Diego are responsible for the integrity of it's elections.
3. Citizen Control Of Their Elections. Citizens are taking action to protect democracy, and to ensure that every vote is counted. Additionally Psephos and SAE are conducting a review of the County charter in response to citizen concerns
about the lack of accountability and improper delegation of power to county elections officials. Concerns include lack of response to citizen input, lack of visibility into hiring decision criteria and lack of timely access to elections information.

Citizens also criticized the county’s plan to purchase more electronic voting machines while while Debra Bowen is conducting a top to bottom review of election processes and procedures.

The county just keeps digging in their heels, and defending secret vote counting. The hiring of Seilers and Vu is further proof that San Diego County is dedicated to keeping it that way.

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Blogger beachblogger said...

dear terry,

thanks for the video link. there was another video too with some scenes from the protests inside and outside!

peace, peter

5/23/2007 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Thank you. I put up a link to the video along with a couple links to related news stories.

5/23/2007 05:50:00 PM  

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