Election Day Observations: California Poll Observer Report for the November 6, 2012 Presidential Election
Election Integrity Project, Inc. (“EIP”) is a non-partisan citizen volunteer organization whose mission is to advocate for fair and honest elections in California. EIP conducts workshops across the state to train poll observers in the election process consistent with state and federal election law and the peculiarities of each California county. Observers are trained to document incidents in an evidentiary manner to support quantification and accuracy of findings for disclosure to elections officials, legislators and the public.
On November 6, 2012, Election Integrity Project deployed Poll Observers to polling places throughout California. This report is an analysis of 1,740 incidents recorded that day by 469 of EIP’s Poll Observers who observed over 650 precincts in in the following 21 counties: Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Orange, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Kern, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Monterey, Placer, Shasta, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solano, Tulare and Nevada.
Interestingly, in a state of over 100,000 poll workers, 25,000 precincts and over 13 million ballots cast, California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen deployed just eight poll observers to seven counties. The report of their findings can be found here. Its finding that, “… only a few problems were encountered by voters and poll workers on election day” conflicts with EIP’s general finding suggesting that there were “many” as opposed to “few” problems encountered by voters and poll workers.
EIP’s Poll Observers recorded serious problems with poll worker training, non-compliance with state and federal election laws and a disturbingly high frequency of voting equipment malfunctions as well as voter registration issues. These incidents occurred across all the counties monitored and are summarized in the table that follows. Note that this table is an aggregate at the state level.