Lawyered up teams from the California Democratic Party and the Kimberly Ellis campaign spent much of last weekend reviewing ballots and there’s about 220 ballots that are under extra scrutiny. Here’s a few bits of communication from the Ellis campaign and the CDP as well as commentary from key observers.
From an email sent by Kimberly Ellis:
The California Democratic Party’s Compliance Review Commission has identified 223 potentially problematic votes. Frankly, this recognition of voting issues is quite a turnaround from the immediate response post election from some in Party leadership like Speaker Rendon when our campaign raised concerns. Can we now all agree there were problems that necessitated a pause?
Next step: figuring out how to get to the bottom of all of the problems with a truly independent review — resolving them once and for all. Delegates have until Monday to check to make sure their votes are accurate or write testimony if there are inaccuracies in the recorded data. Our campaign will also be releasing a formal response.
If you are a Kimberly Ellis voter and have information to share with the Compliance Review Commission, we kindly ask you to include our campaign on your email communication so we can appropriately follow up with you as well. The simplest way to do that is to copy firstname.lastname@example.org on your correspondence with the CRC.
Redefining what it means to be a Democrat requires us to force change on an establishment that prefers conformity over courage. Despite the discomfort, those of us unified activists standing for truth are making measurable and progressive changes.
For the first time ever, the California Democratic Party is actually posting publicly cast votes. To this day, our campaign is still being denied access to information promised to us by former Chair Burton – information critical for us to supply specific data points in our challenge. Further, this review is a far cry from an actual independent forensic audit – but, it’s a start. Change is created when we persist. And whether they like it or not, we’re just getting started.
Politico reports this:
BALLOT CHECK: Gavin Newsom double-endorsed both Eric Bauman and Kimberly Ellis in the contentious race for California Democratic Party chair. But according to ballot documents posted by the party late Wednesday, he didn’t cast a ballot in the race. Nor did Kamala Harris or Dianne Feinstein, according to the ballot documents.
— The party said Wednesday that it holds about 220 ballots “preliminarily identified as potentially invalid or requiring additional review.” The party said it is contacting those voters to address their ballots, while posting the full batch of ballot review forms here.
Bob Mulholland, a DNC member from Chino, chimed in with this post on the Voice of OC. Highlights of his commentary are:
For two weeks after the Convention, Ellis had people, led by the former failed State Party Controller Hilary Crosby, to review all the ballots and recently Ellis announced that hundreds of Bauman ballots should not have been counted. And most of us thought it was just Trump and Republicans trying to suppress voters. Of much interest, Ellis is claiming that every ballot cast for her was 100% accurate, in other words, her supporters dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s. It’s a Miracle!
Two ballots that Ellis personally named and attacked as invalid because someone else signed the ballots. Yes, both Bauman supporters are Orthodox Jews who don’t sign things during the Sabbath. While Trump attacks Muslims, Ellis attacks two Jews. Ellis has not publicly apologized to the two people.
The State Party has the appropriate Committees reviewing the ongoing multiple complaints from Ellis as she agreed to when she filed to run. All Democrats should be focusing on issues and campaigns but Ellis has a personal agenda to keep making accusations. Voters in California want to hear the Democrats working on their issues/concerns and not about a complainer.
Lenore Albert, who ran for CDP chair and is a member of the CDP’s credentialing committee, noted problems with a number of Ellis ballots and steps being taken by the party to review the ballots in question.
CDP chair Eric Bauman issued this statement:
Today, the Compliance Review Commission reported on its ongoing exhaustive and unbiased review of the May 2017 vote for California Democratic Party Chair. On behalf of all California Democrats, I sincerely thank the members of the commission who spent the last week thoroughly and fairly assessing each voter and each vote cast.
Throughout this process, the CRC has reinforced our Party’s commitment to integrity and transparency in elections. The exhaustive review of more than 40,000 documents took place in the presence of observers for each of the three candidates for chair and under the direction of the CRC’s independent legal counsel.
Now, any interested party will have the opportunity to review the ballot review forms, know who voted for whom, and find out which documents are still under review. Additionally, the CRC has invited anyone with additional information pertinent to the votes under review to bring it to the Committee’s attention. All relevant information is posted online: https://www.cadem.org/our-party/compliance-review-commission/2017-chair-election-challenge
I look forward to the conclusion of the CRC process so that we may finally turn our full attention to enacting reforms for our Party and achieving our Blue vision for California and the nation.
And the CDP issued this statement the next day:
July 06, 2017
Compliance Review Commission Update
Yesterday evening the Compliance Review Commission posted its preliminary findings of its audit of voters and ballots cast in the CDP Chair race. We want to make sure every member of the DSCC is kept abreast of the Commission’s work.
The Commission has identified 223 ballots that require further review, of which 104 were of those cast for Kimberly Ellis and 119 were of those cast for Eric C. Bauman. Election Ballot Review Forms were created tracking the preliminary determination of the validity of the ballot for every DSCC voter. Delegates whose ballots have been identified for additional review were notified via email prior to the public announcement by CRC. If you or a fellow delegate received the notification, you can email your response to email@example.com. The CRC posted a memo detailing the process on the CRC webpage, which includes a link where all ballot review forms can be viewed and downloaded.
Here’s a link to the entire process: https://www.cadem.org/our-party/compliance-review-commission/2017-chair-election-challenge?utm_source=ema_2017-07-06_special-audit-update&s_src=ema_2017-07-06_special-audit-update&utm_campaign=special-audit-update&utm_medium=ema
So if you threw out all of the identified ballots for both sides, Bauman is still chair and Ellis will still demand a forensic audit of the vote. Now there’s a chance of course, Ellis challenged ballots survive and Bauman ballots get tossed, but we’re told the party of treating each contested ballot equally and is contacting delegates directly to get to the bottom of the concern about their contested ballot. In some cases, there’s no record that the voting delegate paid dues which would invalidate that delegate’s vote.
Ellis continues to push this idea that Democrats need to be re-defined in California. I’m still not sure what that means exactly. Does it mean we have to change our position on education, the environment, economic opportunity, human rights, LGBTQ rights, healthcare, women’s rights, energy policy, transportation, social justice, immigration (am I leaving anything out)?
A reminder that the California Democratic Party leads the nation when it comes to progressive principles. Democrats occupy all 10 statewide constitutional offices. We have majorities in the Legislature and hold 39 out of our 53 congressional seats. There are 3.7 million more registered Democrats than Republicans. It’s a position of strength to build from not rebuild.