LBRC Files Suit Toward Measure A Recount

On behalf of the Long Beach Reform Coalition (LBRC), California election law litigation firm Strumwasser & Woocher Monday filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the county’s chief election officer, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan. The litigation seeks a writ of mandate and injunctive relief to force Logan to restart the recount of Long Beach Measure A as a traditional, paper ballot recount at a reasonable cost.

“If successful, our litigation effectively will return to the public its right to verify election outcomes, rather than relying purely on non-transparent computerized tabulation,” said LBRC Executive Director Ian Patton.

In March’s primary election, Logan was responsible for implementing an entirely new voting system, called VSAP (an acronym for Voting Solutions for All People), which counts votes electronically without an auditable paper trail of ballots.

“Unbelievably, the design for the $300 million new VSAP system, custom developed for LA County and ten years in the making, apparently did not consider recounts, something that should be one of the most basic functions of an election system,” Patton said.

The VSAP system was developed in the wake of the 2000 presidential election debacle in Florida and the subsequent Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, which required all new voting systems to have an auditable paper trail.

The fundamental change in ballot collection caused by VSAP is that anyone can vote at any vote center in the county. This takes hundreds of thousands of ballots, which used to be pre-sorted by polling precinct, and instead mixes them all together. As a result, VSAP has rendered a human, paper trail audit of the original machine count, a logistical hurdle.

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