The African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation (AAVREP) Legal Counsel is seeking swift and transparent public review of new designs for L.A. Countys problem-plagued Decline-to-State (DTS) ballots before the next election. The group says that flawed double-bubble ballot and faulty instructions by county polling place workers denied 20,000 DTS voters of their right to vote for President.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, founder and chairman of the AAVREP project has called on Dean Logan, L.A. County Acting-Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, to produce, for public review and comment, a new detailed list of poll worker instructions for Decline To State (DTS) voters to eliminate the confusion and ballot errors that denied more than 20,000 DTS voters in L.A. County of their right to vote in Californias Presidential Primary on Tuesday, February 5.
Ridley-Thomas said, While we are encouraged that as many as 48,000 disputed DTS ballot votes have been counted, more than 20,000 DTS voters have had their ballots tossed out.
That is why it is imperative that L.A. Countys voters deserve full and complete assurances from their responsible elections officials that every poll worker, from this point forward, will know exactly which ballot a voter should receive before they cast their vote. The Election Day confusion affecting DTS voters, which have been in evidence in past elections, must end now.
In addition, poll workers must be able to fully explain to every voter how to properly exercise their right to vote, so the ballots that voters cast will correctly reflect their voting preferences and intentions, and so their votes can be counted and certified when all of the ballots are processed, Ridley-Thomas added.
Cynthia McClain-Hill, Esq., AAVREP executive board member and general counsel, said Acting-Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan must make a commitment to the L.A. County voting community that he and his staff will hold poll workers not millions of voters countywide accountable and responsible for maintaining the proper, correct and lawful procedures governing ballots distributed and votes received in all future local, state and federal elections conducted within the county.
That includes implementing new detailed instructions to poll workers and ensuring that all poll workers have received training in those new instructions. It also includes providing education and outreach to voters, so they understand precisely how to use L.A. Countys ballots well before they enter the polling booth, she said.
It also means timely replacement of the problem-plagued double-bubble ballot is essential prior to the next election, since the error-prone ballots that have been a source of voter complaints, poll worker confusion and tens of thousands of rejected ballots since 2002, McClain-Hill added.
McClain-Hill called for a public review and comment period for the design of the new DTS ballots to ensure that the community has input on how the ballot will be used to correctly record a voters intended votes.
AAVREP registered more than 25,000 voters from September 2007 to January 22, 2008. Of those voters registered, nearly 7,000 were DTS voters. Many of the voters registered by AAVREP cast ballots for the first time in the California Presidential Primary.