Monday, January 28, 2008

VCC Plans Poll-Watching Operation

The Voter Confidence Committee today announced intentions to organize Humboldt County poll watching during next Tuesday's California Primary Election. Within mere minutes of e-mailing the press release (shown in full at the bottom of this post) I received voice mail from Thadeus Greenson at the Eureka Times-Standard and Terri Klemetson from KMUD radio news.

I called back a short while later and had perhaps a 15 or 20 minute discussion with Greenson. His December 24 article was the subject of my most recently published opinion piece. We did swap one e-mail each at that time, but did not fully engage. Last week Greenson exchanged words with the VCC's Bob Olofson, who published this letter in Friday's T-S.

So with all this recent history, I was very pleased that Greenson had so many questions for me today, demonstrating curiosity about the most recent framing efforts by the VCC. Namely, let's talk about tangible numbers for a hand-count so the community can objectively judge the viability of this option, without regard for unsubstantiated opinions from elections officials.

I will even give Greenson a bonus point for asking about the
December 12 letter hand delivered by Aryay Kalaki of the VCC to Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich requesting various public data. To this day, the request has not been met and no media have backed up our call for the information or mentioned the Registrar's unwillingness to comply. While I'm on the subject, I'm sorry to have to report that new Election Manager Kelly Sanders has also failed to meet a VCC request for information submitted first by voice mail last Thursday and then via e-mail on Friday. We are seeking information to help us plan the poll watching operation.

Meanwhile, when I called back KMUD's Klemetson I think it was our first conversation. She asked me for an appointment to speak by phone tomorrow to record an interview for tomorrow night's news. I really should have pushed to have her interview me then to appear on tonight's news so that discussion of the VCC poll-watching planning meeting could possibly bring out some people. But no, we'll talk at 9am tomorrow.

On thing not mentioned in the press release below is that the VCC website now has a page with an outline of what a poll-watcher should watch for.

* * *


Contact: Dave Berman, 707-845-3749 or

Voter Confidence Committee Plans Primary Election Poll-Watching
Election Watchdog Group Seeks Community Volunteers

January 28, 2008 – Humboldt election watchdog group the Voter Confidence Committee (VCC) will be organizing community volunteers for a poll-watching operation on Tuesday, February 5, the day of California's Presidential Primary Election. Those willing to help monitor the election can attend a VCC planning and training session this Tuesday, January 29, starting at 6pm at Old Town Coffee & Chocolates, 211 F Street in Eureka.

"The Voter Confidence Committee has repeatedly and clearly stated our concerns about privatized and secret vote counting," said VCC co-founder Dave Berman. "To the extent that we are able to see how our elections work, we believe the community has a responsibility to carefully watch what happens on Election Day."

Volunteers need not attend the training to participate and can obtain a list of things to watch for at the VCC website, Even citizens not intending to participate are encouraged to contact the VCC with reports of anything unusual. A special Election Day hotline has been created at 707-633-4130, or via e-mail at

The VCC will be coordinating activities on Election Night from a temporary base of operations at 332 Grotto Street in Eureka's Henderson Center. Members of the public are welcome to drop in.
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