Today is D-Day for Golden State Governor Gavin Newsom as voters head to the polls. For a political party that could not stop squawking for four years about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Democrats seem to have made an about-face regarding electoral integrity. The California recall vote appears to have loyal leftists on edge as election watchers are documenting every move a voter and poll worker makes. How unnerving: But for whom?
Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley spoke out against volunteers overseeing the handling of ballots, “I still try to be diplomatic. But I’m at the point where I say, enough.” Enough of what? Enough double-checking that legitimate folks are picking up ballots? Enough double-checking a signature on file matches the signature on the envelope? One might surmise dedicated observers ensuring this critical election is as sound as possible to avoid future lawsuits would give both parties a sense of security.
Why So Crabby, Dems?
What has California Democrats so alarmed? It might be the ever-fluctuating polls. They have Newsom one week looking like he would lose to a junkie plucked from Skid Row and, the next week, like he is popular enough to be crowned king of Siam.
The California Democratic Party’s strategy is to vote “no” on the recall itself and then decline to answer the second question, enquiring which other candidate the voter would choose – and that is causing heartburn with the electorate. Losing control over the party faithful is paralyzing Dems with terror. They are claiming that pop-up paparazzi clicking photos of processors, couriers, and their license plates – and constant hovering, and tattling on those who aren’t doing their due diligence – are giving people the creeps and ultimately suppressing the vote.
Are observers there to ensure the election is carried out to the letter of the law, or to intimidate voters, as Newsom’s party now seems to claim? In at least one area they have little influence; try as they might, vote watchers have no legal basis for questioning signatures. A judge in Ventura County in 2020 ruled observers are not legally allowed to cry foul about the signature on the envelope.
It seems a tally of vote watchers shows most are affiliated with one group: the Election Integrity Project (EIP). EIP president, Linda Paine, is vocal in her belief that California is a hot mess of socialist undercurrents, asserting Republicans “always lose by 60-40, or 70-30. It’s always the same thing. It’s an algorithm. That’s been proven.” In addition, Paine wants every ballot to be cast in person, which would prove problematic when the entire state almost always votes by mail-in ballot.
As such, it seems it would be imperative to have vote watchers ensuring everything is above board. One EIP volunteer spoke to the LA Times last week: “I’ve been absolutely astounded … I think if people realized how much effort goes into making sure it is a good ballot, that is very impressive to me.” But, the other side of the coin is Renee Jubian, who identifies as “a proud Democrat,” claiming vote watchers are “trying to sow doubt in people who aren’t well informed about the integrity of voting.”
Or, perhaps ensuring integrity in the right to vote is what all electors should strive to achieve. Californians are as deserving as any voter in the United States of having their vote counted – whether or not their candidate or issue is victorious. Observers hovering about election ballot processors, calling into question unmatched names and signatures, and taking photos shouldn’t offend folks unless someone plans to cheat – and that might (and should) offend a few people.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.