Harmer lawyer says absentee ballot irregularities decided CA-11 race

Catharine Baker, the Harmer campaign attorney that oversaw GOP candidate David Harmer’s ballot-integrity operation, wrote in Free Republic today that, “Harmer lost this election primarily because of VBM and provisional ballots cast at the polls on Election Day.” Baker cites serious issues at specific polling places, as well as in the recount procedures at registrars’ offices in four different counties.

Staff approved VBM and provisional ballots for which no registration signature was on file for comparison.

On election day, Baker says, “At several polling locations, poll workers consistently failed to check that the VBMs had the proper, legally required voter signatures before placing those ballots in the ballot boxes. Poll workers at several polling stations also consistently failed to ensure that individuals delivering multiple VBMs had signed the required certification identifying themselves and attesting that they met the legal requirements for delivering another person’s ballot.”

During post election counting, Harmer observers in Alameda, for instance, were not allowed to challenge seriously mismatched, incomplete registration cards.

Some VBMs that did not have the signature of the voter on them were counted nonetheless if they had the signature of another voter registered at the same street address. This also happened in Santa Clara County. Registrar supervisors in Alameda County deny such ballots were approved by staff, but our observers repeatedly witnessed otherwise.

Baker concludes:

In my view, David Harmer lost this election primarily because of VBM and provisional ballots cast at the polls on Election Day, and the problems we observed with these ballots are serious. Signatures are required by law on VBMs to ensure that the voter whose VBM is cast is the one who completed that ballot and that the person who turns in another voter’s VBM is authorized to do so. If poll workers do not ensure that the required signatures are on the VBMs delivered at the polls, we voters lose an important line of defense against voter fraud.

Furthermore, if private citizens, be they campaign volunteers or just concerned individuals, are unable to question or challenge government determinations about ballot verification during the canvass, we the voters lose yet another line of defense against voter fraud and improperly counted votes.

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  1. steve weir says

    Happy New Year. I am about to issue my Post Election Summary of the Nov. 2010 General Election.

    For this Election, we received 29 complaints from voters about having their party changed (24 switched to Repbublican and 5 switched to Democratic, supposedly by paid registration drive personnel) without their permission. We are able to track such registrations because we check out registration cards (with tracking numbers) to the registration drives, and paid drive personnel are required to put their identifying information on the form if they assisted in filling out the registration. (Not all comply.)

    In one case, a non citizen was “badgered” to register by a Republican registration drive. He called us to ask that his registration be canceled.

    I doubt that anyone was trying to create voter fraud. As a long time Registrar, I see the abuse where there’s money involved. So, paid registration drives and paid signature collection for ballot measures attract some people who want to take advantage of those who are paying the bounty. (If one takes out the b0unty, and pays a flat hourly rate, much of this abuse will go away.)

    Of course, people are going to try to “game” the system, especially where there is money involved such as a bounty for each successful registration. (We’ve turned these cases over to the Fraud Unit of the Secretary of State.)

    Security has become a bigger and bigger issue for elections over the years, and I have created a very secure building that allows for the process of checking signatures to be observed without putting partisans close to our ballots.

    Most of the time, there are no observers. I try to put myself into the shoes as an outside observer to make sure that we are following well thoughout procedures. However, there is nothing like having the public present to observe our work.

  2. RF says

    Yeah, what Kyle said.

    If you think that Dems are the only group trying to game the vote, you need a swift kick in the reality rear.

  3. Profile photo of Pete Laurence says

    I would grant that Steve Weir does a fine job, but the observers should NOT have been kept so far back that they couldn’t even see if the signatures matched! – As to corruption in the other Counties and by Democrat workers, that has gone on by them since before illinois gave Kenney the vote over Nixon’s first run, and goes on now with ACORN and the Libs Opposing the need for PHOTO-ID’s to cast your vote. I don’t doubt that the Harmer Campaign’s observations are correct, and that the only way to beat a Dem in California is to win by so much, that their corruption doesn’t overtake the margin.

  4. steve weir says

    I read both reports and I do not take the observations lightly. I would appreciate having the summary of the observations by precinct. If we have training issues, it would help to know specifics ie: poll workers accepting multiple vote by mail ballots without checking for authorized third party return.

    There is no indication in the reports that Contra Costa passed through any vote by mail ballots that lacked a signature. The issue of challenging signatures is a disagreement that can be settled in court. I am following my published procedures and I feel very strongly that we are following California Election law. Having a court or the Legislature clarify any dispute would be helpful. It is obvious from the report that we lack uniformity between the four counties in allowing “informal” challenges.

    There is not one substantiated instance of improper behavior by our poll workers or staff. Believe what you will, but before you are going to make any impression on me and how my staff conducts elections, you need to be specific and not paint us with a broad brush.

    Steve Weir, Registrar, Contra Costa County.

  5. Kris says

    This is the wrong approach. One would have to ask why someone like a Steve Weir would risk their career to change the outcome of an election. This is a back door way of justifying a loss. Mr. Harmer ran a solid campaign and raised lots of money, but he lost. This happens. This attack by his campaign attorney sullies the campaign.

    Ms. Baker, you are an attorney. If you have evidence, then take this to the authorities.

  6. OC Republican says

    Election fraud is how the Dems took out B-1 Dornan, too. The election fraudsters in Alameda and Contra Costa earned their pay in 2010.

  7. Wendy Lack says

    Given the apparent level of concern on the part of the Harmer campaign, why isn’t this matter being pursued through the proper procedural/legal channels?

    Releasing an article seems like a roundabout way to go about addressing a concern such as this.

    • rootvg says

      Wendy, because it’s California and no one who matters in state government gives a shit anyway. Harmer knows that. His lawyers do as well. Bob Dornan knew it, too.

      If what’s being promoted by the RINOs as a brand of Republicanism that would actually sell here, I’m not interested.

      We can’t move but at the same time I’m not going to simply shut up and go away. I’m going to become the most militant son of a bitch you ever knew and I don’t care what they think.

      What we need is a full on taxpayer revolt, but I don’t see that happening due to the extent to which many Californians either work in the public sector or are otherwise dependent on it.

      There’s simply nowhere to go. There are too many of them, especially those who openly harbor a distaste for our culture and values.

      You could try a tax revolt but otherwise, it’s over. If you couldn’t win as a Republican this year, it’s hopeless.

    • SalthePlumber says

      Root , you are so Right. Maybe the Repukes should caucus and come up with a Lemming in Chief, to lead all the pointy headed sore losers off the cliff… Or you could just MAN-UP and figure out why the GOP has little or no standing in California. You guys have a porous message and little substance.