A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My chat with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Last Week, Secretary of State Debra Bowen came out with a "dramatic decision" decertifying certain voting machines with potential security flaws.

Apparently the lobbyists and pundits are trying to undermine her efforts, so several groups like Democracy for America and California for Democracy have asked people to write letters to the editor of local newspapers and call the local registrar of voter supporting her decision. Since I just read a nice letter in the Alameda Sun praising Bowen, I thought I'd call the registrar of voters. I left a message on his voice mail.

Surprisingly, he called me back. We had a really interesting conversation. He pointed out what he felt were flaws in the report (essentially that the break-ins simulated in the tests would have been impossible given their security setup). In any case, I was impressed that he is really concerned about these issues, certainly more than our county supervisors are, as regular readers of this blog or the marquee of the Grand Lake Theatre are certainly aware.

I mentioned to him that I am also very concerned about election issues that have to do less with voting machines and more with voter intimidation, scrubbing, Jim Crow kinds of rules, etc. as chillingly described by Greg Palast in Armed MadHouse (paperback edition).

I am still concerned about voting systems and voting integrity in Alameda County, but not quite as much now.

He did point out something interesting: His staff of 27 expands to 4,500 on election day, which is very difficult to manage. He mentioned that they are always looking for good people to get involved on election day. Personally, I'm usually involved in a campaign, getting out the vote, but for those who would rather help make the elections run smoothly from the inside, he (and I) encourage you to sign up to become a poll worker.


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