Secretary of State Dispatches Election Observers
to San Francisco

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on November 07, 2011 with 11 Comments

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. File photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

November 7, 2011

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today she has ordered election monitors to oversee tomorrow’s election in San Francisco.

The decision appears to have been made in response to calls for election oversight following multiple reports of alleged ballot tampering in October by an independent group supporting interim mayor Ed Lee.

The voter fraud allegation has triggered a preliminary investigation by District Attorney George Gascón.

Five mayoral candidates – Senator Leland Yee, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Michela Alioto-Pier and Joanna Rees – penned a letter Thursday calling on Bowen and the US Department of Justice to investigate and oversee the election.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Michela Alioto-Pier, Senator Leland Yee, Joanna Rees and City Attorney Dennis Herrera held a press conference Thursday, 11/3/11, reiterating a call for election observers to monitor the election in San Francisco.

“The Secretary of State has generally heard from a variety of San Franciscans concerns that have been raised about tomorrow’s election,” Bowen spokesperson  Nicole Winger told the BayCitizen. “They will serve as extra eyes and ears on the ground.”

Responding to Bowen’s decision, Herrera spokesperson Matt Dorsey said in a statement: “Serious questions have been raised about electioneering activities in the Mayor’s race, and we’re grateful to Secretary of State Bowen for recognizing that oversight is needed.  San Franciscans deserve to have confidence in the legitimacy of their elections.”

Senator Yee, added, “I am very pleased to hear that the Secretary of State has decided to send state election monitors in response to the irresponsible and illegal activities by those supporting Ed Lee. San Franciscans deserve to have a fair and legitimate election, and these monitors will help protect the integrity of the vote.”

It is unclear if Federal authorities will also monitor the election.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7×7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • Probably to little and to late but let’s act upon The Precautionary Principle and start thinking about a Mr Ed Recall.

  • Ann Garrison

    Monitoring is good, but let’s have some federal investigators. That’s the only thing I can imagine giving the Board the courtesy not to certify this filthy election.

  • Hope Johnson

    Debra Bowen is sending state monitors? Good luck with that. She has been foisted off on voters by the blue dog Democrats for years despite her continued failure to implement open source voting. She’s monitoring the very power structure that keeps her elected as a meaningless Secretary of State.

  • Ann Garrison

    I meant to say courage; a federal election seems most likely to give the Board courage not to certify the election.

  • Richmondman

    Bowen’s failure? According to the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), “(in 2008) California’s state assembly considered a bill mandating that new voting systems be based on open-source software. The bill didn’t pass, despite support from the California secretary of state…”

  • Old bulldog’s advice,

    Diversify your emotional stock my children. I’m going to see if I remember the way to the Bay on foot. You should maybe reacquaint yourself with what’s-her/his-name, your mate. Of, you know, take up frisbee or something.

    Go Niners!


  • Ann Garrison

    This vote count is going to take 2.5 weeks, during which time the San Francisco DA at least will investigate the various charges against the Ed Lee campaign.

    Then the Board will have to certify the election.

    No one seems to take me seriously about this but I’d like to see one of the campaigns, best of all Terry Baum’s, get an election lawyer and go to Superior Court asking for an injunction to stop John Arnst from counting Ed Lee’s votes based on the preponderance of evidence that his campaign is guilty of election fraud.

  • Ann Garrison

    Also, excuse me; I doubt anyone’s noticing me stumbling all over my words here, but I keep trying to say that “a federal investigation would be most likely to give the Board courage not to certify the election.” (I’m trying to think about U.S. Special Forces in East Central Africa at the same time, but it’s no excuse.)

    I know it’s unlikely, given Pelosi, Feinstein, Newsom, Brown, and company’s determination to make sure City Hall keeps letting them run San Francisco like the family business.

  • FYI. The ink ain’t yet dry on this farcical perversion of participatory ‘democracy’ but the edict has already come down from on high and the minions are appropriately obeisant. Elsbernd and Farrell are officially working to overturn RCV. No word yet from Chu & Wiener, guess they only get CC’d, but no doubt that they will fall in line, after all they’re just ‘good gigolos following orders’.

  • Ann Garrison

    I watched Farrell and Elsbernd, both of whom owe their seats to IRV, introduce that resolution on SFGOV TV today, and saw Avalos react angrily. Then an IRV defender from a California election reform organization stood up and reacted angrily as well, during public comment, and tried to summarize the case for IRV.

    But I finally found an election lawyer to talk to who pointed out what now seems obvious, though it didn’t at first. That the election will not be overturned and the courts will not get involved unless it can be argued that there are enough “tainted ballots” to suggest that the election result would have been different if they weren’t counted.

    It’s like asking, “Were you prejudiced by Defendant [or Plaintiff’s] action?” in court. Were you really disadvantaged by the dishonesty of the Ed Lee campaign? Would it have made any difference if Ed Lee’s campaign had been honest? How many ballots shouldn’t have been counted?

  • Pretty accurate description of SF political reality from Mutt & Ruff in today’s Kron. ” Lee..spent years working with what he likes to call ‘the city family’. Others call it the ‘permanent government’ of city department heads, union leaders, non profit chiefs and city managers who manage to survive every change in mayoral administrations.