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Possible Ballot Initiative Fraud in Santa Barbara

by: Vikingkingq

Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 19:51:55 PM PST

(An interesting personal account of the dirty tricks. - promoted by shayera)

NOTE: cross-posted from DailyKos.

First, I should explain that I'm a graduate student at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Today I witnessed what I think is an incidence of ballot petition fraud relating to the electoral vote apportionment initiative - the proposal to apportion California's electoral votes by congressional district, unilaterally giving 19 of California's electoral votes to the Republicans in 2008.

Outside the UCEN (student center plus bookstore plus food court) at UC Santa Barbara, there were a number of people with cardboard clipboards soliciting people to sign ballot petitions for a proposal to spend $1 billion on cancer hospitals for kids. If you agree to sign, they tell you "you need to sign 4 times." What they do not tell you is that the three pages after the ballot initiative on cancer hospitals are different ballot initiatives: the second proposes to abolish eminent domain, the third proposals to abolish rent control, and the fourth is the proposal to apportion California's electoral votes by district (the so-called Dirty Tricks Initiative).

I should note that the clipboard is arranged such that a rubber band holding the petitions to the cardboard is positioned on the top of the page, across the actual ballot language in question - thus, partially hiding the text of the ballot initiatives on pages 2-4 unless you actually stop and pull down the top of the page.

I agreed to sign the cancer initiative, but the comment about signing four times raised a red flag, because I'm familiar with the structure of ballot petitions, so I paused before signing and looked at the other initiatives. However, I'm absolutely sure that most of the people signing, young college students on a rush to get their lunches and off to class, did not take this step.

What they are doing is getting people to sign for ballot initiatives without their knowledge or informed consent, using young peoples' desire to do a good thing and their lack of familiarity with the legal paperwork of initiative petitions. If this is not illegal it is certainly deeply unethical. The moment I realized what was going on, I told the petitioners that they shouldn't be telling people to sign for ballot initiatives they're not aware of. Immediately after, I called the school newspaper, the Daily Nexus, the Courage Campaign, the Santa Barbara Democratic Central Committee, and the California Democratic Party. After that, I have sent in a form to the Sec. of State as well, reporting this.

I'm posting this to further get the word out.

Vikingkingq :: Possible Ballot Initiative Fraud in Santa Barbara
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Call the Secretary of State (8.00 / 3)

Call the Proponent of the Petition. (as found on the Secretary of State's Website)

1271. (07-0034)

Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Statute.
Summary Date: 09/12/07 Circulation Deadline: 02/11/08 Signatures Required: 433,971

Proponent: Diana S. Dooley (916) 552-7111

Authorizes $980,000,000 in bonds, to be repaid from state's General Fund, to fund the construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of children's hospitals. Designates that 80 percent of bond proceeds go to hospitals that focus on children with illnesses such as leukemia, cancer, heart defects, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. Requires that qualifying children's hospitals provide comprehensive services to a high volume of children eligible for governmental programs and meet other requirements. Designates that 20 percent of bond proceeds go to University of California general acute care hospitals. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State costs of about $2 billion over 30 years to pay off both the principal ($980 million) and the interest ($1 billion) costs of the bond. Payments of about $67 million per year. (Initiative 07-0034.)

Call the FPPC.

Call the Santa Barbara County Elections Office

Great catch (8.00 / 1)
I'm not at all surprised this kind of fraud is happening. It would be great, though not exactly easy, if this could be caught on video.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

I'm going to snoop around (8.00 / 2)
the place where my petitioners usually hang out, and see what I can do.

[ Parent ]
get their names (0.00 / 0)
I think what they did is a crime, so if you want anything more than to hear big names deny that it happened, you should have names of the petition workers so that they can be taken to court (and in exchange for smaller fines, they may tell who told them to do this)

[ Parent ]
Crime? (0.00 / 0)
It would depend on the language they used.  It would have to be shown that they represented all 4 signatures as being for the same initiative, which certainly seems to be the case here. 

[ Parent ]
Thank you (0.00 / 0)
for posting this diary. I got hit with exactly the same thing here in Orange County down at the Target. I raised a stink with the young men who were attempting to gather signatures and stood around for an hour telling people what was really going on.

I contacted knbc, kabc, ktla, kcbs tv news stations and the LA Times... don't know if it will do any good. Tomorrow I will call the Sec. of State.

Hi OC (0.00 / 0)
Save the pics you took and show them to whoever you think needs to see them because what they're doing appears to be a misdemeanor (see my link in the comment below)

And, it's kind of late, but I know someone who knows someone in the SoS's office, and if I can find out who would be a good person to get in touch with, I'll pass it along here and FDL

[ Parent ]
Get Pictures (8.00 / 2)
    I should note that the clipboard is arranged such that a rubber band holding the petitions to the cardboard is positioned on the top of the page, across the actual ballot language in question - thus, partially hiding the text of the ballot initiatives on pages 2-4 unless you actually stop and pull down the top of the page.

I think this might be relevant

California Elections Code 

SECTION 18600-18603


    (b) Willfully and knowingly circulates, publishes, or exhibits any
    false statement or misrepresentation concerning the contents,
    purport or effect of any state or local initiative, referendum, or
    recall petition for the purpose of obtaining any signature to, or
    persuading or influencing any person to sign, that petition.

I think this is even more relevant

    18602.  Any person working for the proponent or proponents of a
    statewide initiative or referendum measure who covers or otherwise
    obscures the summary of the measure prepared by the Attorney General
    from the view of a prospective signer is guilty of a misdemeanor.

I'm an idiot, (0.00 / 0)
I got pictures of the guys but not of the petition... I'll go hunting for them this weekend and I'll be sure to have my phone with me... if I can find them, I'll snap the petition set up.

by the time I got the camera out of the car, those guys wouldn't let me touch a petition... I WAS tempted to swipe it and walk off... but I didn't.

[ Parent ]
John, (0.00 / 0)
the security cameras should have a crystal clear tape of these guys as they were standing right in the entrance... no sound, but I'd wager a perfect enough pic to show the petitions and how they were handled by the guys...

  it was interesting, when I was watching closely but out of earshot, they would show people the second page by unclipping and folding down from the top (glancing in my direction to see if I was listening), but if they thought I wasn't looking, they would only point to the top page and then flip the petitions up from the bottom, not showing the top portion where the initiative was written.

I know the language they used. I heard it many times... "...Children's cancer hospital... please sign the multiple pages..." no mention was made of any other ballot initiatives there.

[ Parent ]
new diary up at DKos (0.00 / 0)
I've tried to collect up some of the info here in the comments and a couple other places... put up a diary this morning (and crossposted here).

a recommend would help keep it up top.


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