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Voter Suppression – Tales from the California Primary

Voter Suppression – Tales from the California Primary

We have all watched mass amounts of voter suppression happen this primary season, in too many states to mention. But, let this atrocious list serve as a reminder:

Ø Voters being purged from the rosters
Ø Party affiliations being changed making voters ineligible
Ø Electronic voting machines not allowing Bernie Sanders votes
Ø Hand count audits not matching electronic tallies
Ø Unsanctioned voter status changes to “Vote by Mail” (VBM), forcing these voters onto provisional ballots at the polls
Ø Up to 70% of polling locations being shut down in certain parts of the country, displacing voters altogether or creating ludicrous lines no one should be forced to wait in
Ø Precinct hours being cut dramatically, hurting the working class
Ø ID laws disenfranchising voters without “proper” identification
Ø Shortages of ballots EVERYWHERE
Ø Mainstream media calling results prior to polls closing & votes being counted

As California realized their primary was going to matter, concerned citizens teamed up with Black Men for Bernie to try to proactively see what could be done. From creating #ShowMetheBallots, contacting L.A. city council members and visiting Dean Logan [the county registrar], efforts were being made on all fronts. Unfortunately, when June 7th came, the same disastrous challenges occurred.

L.A. county poll clerks and inspectors testified to all too familiar problems:

Ø Purged voters whose names were not found on rosters [some of whom could pull up their registration & precinct on the website to verify they were in the right location, but were still forced to fill out a provisional ballot]
Ø Illicit party affiliation changes [including to a Democratic candidate running for U.S. Senate & an entire family of 4 shown registered as Peace + Freedom, a party they had never heard of]
Ø Broken machines that wouldn’t read the ballots
Ø Machines that incorrectly said “no selection” and “invalid ballot card” to properly filled out ballots
Ø Missing supplemental roster pages
Ø Unauthorized changes to VBM, forcing provisional ballots
Ø Understaffed precincts [including inspectors who were no shows, meaning no rosters & no ballots]
Ø Undertrained/wrongly trained/untrained poll clerks [some of whom stuffed every NPP crossover ballot into a provisional envelope]
Ø Ballot shortages
Ø Rightfully angered voters who left without getting to cast a vote
Ø Egregious election summary reports upon close of polls

A singular error across the state could be brushed off as human error, gross carelessness, or an inability to prepare properly [despite knowing there was a 1.8 million new voter surge]. However, each and every one of these issues didn’t just happen at one precinct or in one county. They ALL happened in Los Angeles alone; reports are they happened at the same rate across the state as well. When this much chaos happens, one conclusion seems inescapably clear: election fraud. That is most certainly NOT what democracy looks like.

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June 1st, 2016

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