Early on Election Day, I started getting messages from readers about aggressive electioneering by representatives of the “No on J” campaign. Measure J, as you’ll remember, is the ballot initiative that would compel the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to conduct a feasibility study on acquiring California American Water’s local system.
Voters, at least, want to know if it’s possible: J passed with 55.8 percent of voters in favor.
The aggressive electioneering took a few different forms. The one I heard about most often was that No on J workers appeared to be too close – and by too close, that’s within 100 feet – of polling places. Another said No on J workers blocked the driveway at his polling place. One reader also said that a No on J worker followed her from her car to the polling place door and asked her how she intended to vote.
It was a dirty campaign cycle all around, but nothing in particular that readers sent my way was unusual. But to hear from the Monterey County Republican Committee, it was near anarchy at the polling places.
That information comes in the form of an email the committee sent out to voters on Nov. 10 with the subject line: “Voting Irregularity at the Polls in Monterey County.” It opens as follows: “This last election cycle was riddled with voting irregularities. Our group of Election Integrity volunteers ceaselessly endeavored to reveal as many irregularities as possible. Yet invariably, some must have slipped our gaze. Voters are justifiably angry and confused as to how this could have happened.” According to the email, the irregularities include, but are not limited to: your voting status being changed to a vote by mail ballot without your knowledge; having to argue with poll workers about your status or ballot; if poll workers claimed you were an inactive voter despite you being active; being forced to use a provisional ballot; people registering to vote with a provisional ballot anywhere except the Registrar of Voters office in Salinas; and being harassed, chased or followed by anyone demanding to know how you voted.
The letter asked readers to go to EIP-CA.com to register and fill out an incident report. “By telling us exactly what happened, you are helping Landmark Legal (Foundation) as they sue the state of California for corruption and criminal behavior in our election process,” it states.
Like I said, sounds like anarchy. Yet it tastes like sour grapes.
EIP-CA stands for the Election Integrity Project, a self-described nonpartisan 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to assuring that every legally cast vote is counted and reported. While the EIP may be nonpartisan, Landmark, from which it sprang, was founded by Mark Levin, author of the book Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism. And on Landmark’s website is a link to an op-ed about voter fraud, written by Landmark’s staff attorney for The Daily Caller.
Locally, a kind Prunedale woman named Dawn Jones is leading the EIP charge. She was trained by EIP as an election observer and her mission, she says, is to fix our illegal voting.
“In the first part of the morning (on Election Day) I had so many people texting me and messaging me from P.G. and Monterey about rude people who wanted Yes on J. People would pull up, banging on windows, asking how are you going to vote,” she says. “Both sides were not following the law.” Jones says she received reports from other EIP workers about other irregularities.
Monterey County Registrar of Voters Claudio Valenzuela was stunned when I asked him about the email. He hadn’t heard about it, but upon hearing it described, he laughed, paused and said, “I’m sorry, I’m speechless. It’s so contrary to what we have seen and to the comments we’re getting from poll workers and voters alike,” he says. “I take every instance and every issue very seriously and of course, if anyone presented this to us, we would turn around and send it to our District Attorney, as we do with any complaints of voter fraud.”
His office received a few complaints about electioneering, mostly surrounding Measure J and representatives being too close to a polling place; the situation was rectified immediately.
MARY DUAN writes the Local Spin for the Weekly. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her at twitter.com/maryrduan