Once in a while, the creaky system works -- and a loud uproar by angry voters gets a problem fixed overnight. Right after the California Democratic primary, I reported on a ballot-counting snafu in Los Angeles County that looked to disenfranchise tens of thousands of "decline to state" voters who had intended to vote for Obama or Clinton. My report was titled "The Smell of Florida 2000 in the Morning." When Courage Campaign first brought the problem to the attention of Dean Logan, the county's Voter Registrar, Logan blew off the protest. He stated his intention of NOT hand-counting the ballots of voters who had possibly been misled by a confusing ballot design.
Update: Super Tuesday Problem Vote Count in California
But Courage Campaign went to guns on the Web, and stirred up a hornet's nest of 32,802 Californians who signed a "Count Every Vote" petition. Over 400 donors contributed $16,572 to the costs of Courage Campaign's legal expenses. The Campaign was standing by to file a lawsuit against Los Angeles County if the problem ballots were not hand-counted.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, especially Zev Yaroslavsky, pricked up their ears and weighed in on helping solve the problem, as did Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Result: the ballots are now being hand-counted. Registrar Logan and the Board of Supervisors have also agreed to junk the defective and confusing ballot design that led to the problem in the first place.
Wouldn't it be nice if voter uproars could get the bigger, uglier problems fixed that fast as well?
Thanks to any Bilerico readers or bloggers who signed the Courage Campaign petition.