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Citizens Oversight OPPOSES AB-840, the bill to gut CA election audits

Citizens Oversight (2017-08-31) Ray Lutz

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More Info: Election Integrity

* Link to the Bill as amended:


  • Signed into law by Governor Brown on 2017-10-15.
  • Now we need to take action see if we can undo this!


I think we need to turn our sights on CACEO, the California Assn of Clerks and Election Officials. See their website here:

We need to start complaining about how they handled this sleight of hand and did not include the public in the process. We can contact the election officials of all 58 counties in california as they are probably members and should not allow this sort of thing to occur. We need to push for a change in the chair of the legislative committee in CACEO, who has been Jill La Vine of Sacramento for probably 10 years.

You are now reading the campaign page! Please step forward and help!!

  • Step 1: If you have not done so already, please sign up as a volunteer: Sign Up
  • Step 2: Please send an email to Yvette and let hew know you are starting your work:
  • Step 3: Contact your own county election official (see list below), and ask the following questions, writing down their answers in a text file. It may be easiest to contact them by EMAIL and ask for their answers in writing, returning the answers to you. They are required under Election Code Section 2300, Paragraph 9A&B to answer your questions and if they can't answer them, find someone who can.
    • Is this county a member of CACEO?
    • Were they aware of how CACEO is slipping these changes (AB-840) under the radar?
    • Do they support last-minute revisions to the election code with no opportunity for hearings and testimony by members of the public?
    • Do they support short-cutting the audit so it may not include about 40% of the ballots, and in such a way that a hacker can predict which ballots are not audited?
    • Are they planning on including those in the audit anyway, in future elections, since they do have discretion to do so?
    • Are they on the CACEO legislative Committee? If so, do they go to the meetings?
    • Did they vote on and approve this position of CACEO?
    • Do they approve of the fact that CACEO runs their legislative committee meetings with no opportunity to participate by phone and with no minutes of the meetings produced?
    • Do that agree that Jill La Vine, Sacramento Registrar and CACEO legislative committee chair should be replaced in this position after this fiasco?
    • Would you be willing to work with Citizens' Oversight and other election integrity groups to craft a better audit law?
  • Step 4: Contact other county election officials with the same questions.
  • Step 5: Would you be willing to be on an oversight team to carefully and intensely provide oversight of election audits in the future?
  • Step 6: Please consider a donation here: Donate To Citizens Oversight

We want a lot of redundant calls to show that the voters are concerned.

Any questions or need additional direction, or have reports? Please contact the emails below. Summarize the responses and send to these email addresses, so we can track and combine the feedback!


Primary Targets

The top 24 counties comprise 92% of the voters in the state.

County Contact Title Phone Fax Email
Los Angeles Dean Logan Recorder/County Clerk (562) 466-1310 (562) 929-4790
San Diego Michael Vu Registrar of Voters (858) 565-5800 (858) 694-2955
Orange Neal Kelley Registrar of Voters (714) 567-7600 (714) 567-7556
Riverside Rebecca Spencer Interim Registrar of Voters (951) 486-7200 (951) 486-7335
Alameda Tim Dupuis Registrar of Voters (510) 272-6933 (510) 272-6982
Santa Clara Shannon Bushey Registrar of Voters (408) 299-8683 (408) 998-7314
San Bernardino Michael J. Scarpello Registrar of Voters (909) 387-8300 (909) 387-2022
Sacramento Jill La Vine Registrar of Voters (916) 875-6451 (916) 875-6228
Contra Costa Joseph E. Canciamilla County Clerk, Recorder and Registrar of Voters (925) 335-7800 (925) 335-7843
San Francisco John Arntz Director of Elections (415) 554-4375 (415) 554-7344
Fresno Brandi L. Orth County Clerk/Registrar of Voters (559) 600-8683 (559) 488-3279
Ventura Mark A. Lunn County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters (805) 654-2781 (805) 648-9200
San Mateo Mark Church Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder (650) 312-5222 (650) 312-5348
Kern Mary Bedard Auditor-Controller/County Clerk/Registrar of Voters (661) 868-3590 (661) 868-3768
San Joaquin Austin Erdman Registrar of Voters (209) 468-2885 (209) 468-2889
Sonoma William F. Rousseau County Clerk, Recorder, Assessor, Registrar of Voters (707) 565-6800 (707) 565-6843
Stanislaus Lee Lundrigan County Clerk-Recorder (209) 525-5200 (209) 525-5802
Placer Jim Mc Cauley County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar (530) 886-5650 (530) 886-5688
Solano Ira Rosenthal Registrar of Voters (707) 784-6675 (707) 784-6678
Santa Barbara Joseph E. Holland County Clerk, Recorder and Assessor (805) 568-2200 (805) 568-2209
Monterey Claudio Valenzuela Registrar of Voters (831) 796-1499 (831) 755-5485
San Luis Obispo Tommy Gong County Clerk-Recorder (805) 781-5228 (805) 781-1111
Marin Lynda Roberts Registrar of Voters (415) 473-6456 (415) 473-6447



Our legislature secretly amended AB-840, which was originally an innocuous bill cleaning up some language, to include a MAJOR CHANGE to election audits in California. They propose that the audits include ONLY the Early VBM and Polls ballots, while omitting the later VBM and provisional ballots. In other words, to make the violations by Michael Vu become legal. I am attaching my somewhat lengthy document which includes recommended changes.

For background, see the Election Audit Lawsuit, for detailed information about our lawsuit against Michael Vu, who omitted 285,000 ballots from the 2016 Primary audit process, about 40% of those cast. If this bill is signed into law, this practice will become standard throughout the state, opening up opportunities for election hacking because hackers will know which ballots will never be audited -- the last 40%.

Press Release

If the document does not display above, click here

Official Comments FIled with Assembly Committee On Aug 24 Revision

If the document does not display above, click here

Official Comments FIled with Assembly Committee On Sept 7 Revision

If the document does not display above, click here

  • ex59-p105.pdf: Letter from CACEO that shows they admit the current law DOES require VBM and Provisionals to be included.

Letter sent to Gov. Brown to request that he not sign the bill

If the document does not display above, click here


According to what you have said, some counties have been able to include the late ballots in the 1% manual tally. So that leads to why haven't San Diego and Los Angeles counties followed the law for the last 10 years? And why has nobody in state government made them follow the law?

They do not follow the law because they have been able to obfuscate what they are doing so no one could follow it, and then cut corners. In San Diego, we have been carefully following the audits, or at least trying to, starting in 2008. We then realized that the audits were performed on only the early VBM and polling place ballots, what they call the "semi-final canvass". That semi-final canvass used to be almost everything, but since VBM has become more popular, added do the fact that you can mail in the ballot on election day or drop off at polling places, coupled with the increase of provisional voting, means that about 40% of the ballots are NOT included in the semi-final canvass. In trying to compare the results of the manual tally with the final report, we could not as there are many thousands of ballots missing, and the numbers do not compare at all. Thus, in recent years, we started the Snapshot Protocol which is simply an oversight procedure where we ask for the SNAPSHOT of the election, that semifinal canvass, preferably prior to the random selection process (so they can't fix up the computer report if any of the selected precincts was modified by an internal compromised employee or hacker.)

It was then that we were getting pretty good at observing this and we asked San Diego Registrar Michael Vu why he was not choosing sufficient batches (or precincts) to cover all the ballots in the later VBM and provisional sets. He said he would not, and we took him to court and won. In surveying the other counties, some do it right (esp. after we informed them of the issue) such as Inyo, Orange, Alameda, and Sonoma. Others like LA and SD and many others do not.

To make it worse, we discovered in our careful review of their procedures, that some counties, like Los Angeles, rescan any precincts with variances and then compare with the new report. So if during the manual tally audit, any precincts have no variances. Of course those are reported directly as fine. And if they have a minor variance of only a vote or two, then they report that too. But if the precinct were off by say 10 votes, which is highly significant, and may indicate massive hacking has occurred, they take the stack of ballots into a separate room and all the ballot marking are emphasized by a worker, then the ballots are re-scanned, to produce a new report. The new report is compared with the manual tally and of course, it will compare perfectly, and they report that.

I hope you realize that what they are doing here will effectively COVER UP any massive hacking campaigns rather than expose it. If indeed there was such a precinct where they were initially variances and then it is proven with a rescan that the variance is indeed true, then this only proves that there are serious problems in the tabulation. Very serious problems.

We also now realize that CACEO had this legislation on their agenda from the beginning of 2017 but did not sneak it in until the transcript of our appeal was completed on August 15. They amended the bill AB-840 only 9 days later. We see that Vu was behind the change from the start.

Do San Diego and Los Angeles counties have a much higher than average percentage of provisional ballots and late absentee ballots as compared to the counties that have been including the late ballots in the 1% count?

Almost no counties include the provisionals but we see no big difference in the counts. Remember that the LA manual tally process is COMPLETELY A FRAUD.

If these 2 large counties have a much higher percentage of late ballots than the counties that followed the law then there may be an excuse. If the percentage is the same then I don't see any excuse.

It is about the same, but LA simply has a lot of precincts and many ballots as they are about 3x bigger than San Diego, the second largest county.

There could be a question of scale. Do the counties that followed the law have more election workers than the 2 big counties that haven't followed the law in terms of ballots per election worker?

There is no excuse to break the law just because you did not arrange to hire enough workers to perform the legally mandated audit.

I'm wondering if the registrars of San Diego and Los Angeles have said anything about why they did not follow the law or why the supposedly can't follow the law. Have they said anything more than the 2006 letter?

They say it is just too difficult to follow the law due to scale. However, we have found that in our observations, there is plenty of time if the registrars do it in phases, which we have recommended in our Technical Brief on the topic.


Media Form edit

Title Citizens Oversight OPPOSES AB-840, the bill to gut CA election audits
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Ray Lutz
Pub Date 2017-08-31
Media Link
Remote Link
Embed HTML
Forum Link
Note AB-840
Keywords Election Integrity
Related Keywords Election Team, Snapshot Protocol, Election Audit Lawsuit, Snapshot Protocol
Media Type Article, Video, PDF
Media Group News, News Release, Legal Doc
Curator Rating Plain
Author Name Sortable
Publish Status Published
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I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
COPS_Comment_opposing_AB-840_2017-09-07_version.pdfpdf COPS_Comment_opposing_AB-840_2017-09-07_version.pdf manage 314 K 11 Sep 2017 - 17:57 Raymond Lutz Letter to Assembly Committee opposing Sept 7 revision of AB-840
COPS_Comment_opposing_AB-840_to_GOV_BROWN.pdfpdf COPS_Comment_opposing_AB-840_to_GOV_BROWN.pdf manage 308 K 19 Sep 2017 - 22:18 Raymond Lutz Letter To Governor Brown
COPS_Commneto_on_AB-840_to_stop_undermining_1_percent_manual_tally.pdfpdf COPS_Commneto_on_AB-840_to_stop_undermining_1_percent_manual_tally.pdf manage 368 K 01 Sep 2017 - 00:25 Raymond Lutz Press Release on the issue
COPS_Opposes_AB-840,_the_bill_to_gut_CA_election_audits.pdfpdf COPS_Opposes_AB-840,_the_bill_to_gut_CA_election_audits.pdf manage 298 K 01 Sep 2017 - 00:30 Raymond Lutz Press Release -- COPS Opposes AB-840, the bill to gut CA election audits
Snapshot-CA-2016-06-contacts.xlsxxlsx Snapshot-CA-2016-06-contacts.xlsx manage 23 K 17 Oct 2017 - 01:57 Raymond Lutz Election Officials in the state of California
TECHNICAL_BRIEF_-_1_manual_tally.pdfpdf TECHNICAL_BRIEF_-_1_manual_tally.pdf manage 115 K 27 Sep 2017 - 01:51 Raymond Lutz Technical Brief Describing how to perform the 1% manual tally during the canvass period.
caceo_leg_agenda_jan_17.docxdocx caceo_leg_agenda_jan_17.docx manage 28 K 17 Oct 2017 - 02:04 Raymond Lutz Jan 2017 Agenda of CACEO legislative agenda discloses that Vu was behind the change.
ex59-p105.pdfpdf ex59-p105.pdf manage 203 K 11 Sep 2017 - 18:03 Raymond Lutz Letter from CACEO that shows they admit the current law DOES require VBM and Provisionals to be included.
Topic revision: r14 - 29 May 2018, RaymondLutz
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