Voter Fraud: If It Can Happen In Beverly Hills …

Beverly HillsIn a city in which an election was won four years ago by seven votes, every vote should count. But only the votes that should count should count. And that’s a problem in Beverly Hills.

Voter fraud is real. It’s alive. It’s happening. And we have to stop it. Whether or not it happens at the federal level, we know it happens at the local level. We have seen it ourselves and our own investigations have proven it happens.

Last week, at a marathon City Council meeting, the Beverly Hills City Council at my request unanimously agreed to launch an Anti-Voter Fraud Initiative. The initiative will attempt to use every tool at the council and city’s disposal to protect the integrity of our local election, the next of which is March 7 (and in which I and the vice mayor are up for re-election).

We will attempt to inform our own voters to help report suspected instances of unauthorized voters (“If you see something, say something”), as well as continue to lobby the secretary of state, our DA and other officials to take the matter of suspected voter fraud seriously and to take action. The decision to launch the Anti-Voter Fraud Initiative follows a Monday meeting of the City’s Sunshine Task Force which we created to make our city a model of transparency and good government.

Yes, we are frustrated.

Our frustration and the decision to educate, lobby and take whatever local action we can to deal with voter fraud is preceded by two council study sessions in which we discussed the matter with representatives from the local registrar-recorder and the secretary of state, one meeting more exasperating than the other. We shouldn’t have to self-police and we are extremely limited as to what we can do locally to put an end to voter fraud.

Some background information is in order, particularly for those who aren’t familiar with Beverly Hills, beyond the stereotype, or suggest that voter fraud doesn’t exist.

In 2008 a local developer won a referendum by 129 votes which granted a controversial building entitlement. The developer spent millions of dollars prior to the election with all manner of expensive propaganda. The grass-roots group opposing the developer’s plans suspected that many voters who had voted in Beverly Hills were not bona fide or legal residents of the city, but nonetheless voted in the election.

In a Herculean effort, volunteers canvassed the city, going door-to-door to investigate the claims of voter fraud. They uncovered 569 documented cases of voters who were not entitled to vote in our local election. The group of phony voters included random people registered at unsuspecting residents’ addresses, non-U.S. citizens, Beverly Hills residents’ adult children who themselves were domiciled elsewhere, etc. That’s right: there were 569 documented cases of illegal voters in an election which had been won by 129 votes. The math is pretty simple.

The citizens’ group turned over their voluminous documentation over to the local DA’s office, which complimented them on their meticulousness and then proceeded to do … absolutely nothing. No indictments. No prosecution. No convictions. Nothing.

Fast forward to the months preceding the Nov. 2016 election: the same developer who had won the tainted 2008 election was now attempting to pass an initiative to build a 375-foot skyscraper in Beverly Hills. As in 2008, the developer spent millions of dollars in campaign propaganda (it turns out that the developer ended up spending more than $1000 per vote in a losing effort), and reports of potential illegal voters arose once again. The city received a list of over 500 voters registered at a few business addresses. As a council colleague remarked, the limited number of business addresses makes this seem like an organized effort. We turned the list over to the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder, who sent letters out to these 500 registered voters, informing them that their voting status would be placed on hold pending their verifying that they actually lived in Beverly Hills and were entitled to vote here.

It turns out that only two of the over 500 registered voters ended up verifying that they actually live in Beverly Hills.

If we had not been provided with a list of unauthorized registered voters, which we forwarded to the registrar with the request to invalidate the registrations pending further confirmation, we could have had 500 illegal voters in the November election. This is in a city in which, as mentioned, a council member won election in 2013 by a mere seven votes.

At our council study session earlier this month in which we asked for representation from the local registrar, the secretary of state’s office and the DA, only the registrar seemed to take the problem of voter fraud seriously. The secretary of state’s representative gave answers which actually decreased our confidence in its ability to protect the integrity of our voting process and raised the frustration levels of the entire council. After having refused to prosecute the widespread 2008 voter fraud, the DA’s office refused to even send a representative to our council meeting, even after I followed up the initial refusal with a letter to county DA Jackie Lacey, personally asking her to send a representative to discuss this serious issue. Their job is not just to prosecute voter fraud (something they evidently refuse to do, as was the case in 2008) but also to help us avert such crimes which undermine our electoral system. This nonchalance was both shocking and stupefying.

At that meeting, as confirmed by our city clerk, we pointed out various ways in which voter fraud could occur and evidently had occurred: people could simply register at houses where they did not live, either with or without the bona fide residents’ knowledge or they could register at business addresses, as they had done in the past. At the polls, they could comb through the voter rolls and see who had not voted and simply get replacements to vote in their stead. There is effectively no way under our current system to avoid or deal with most of these situations, particularly if the local DA’s office is unwilling to take action.

According to today’s Washington Post: “Multiple investigations of the extent of in-person voter fraud — someone showing up to vote fraudulently — have found that it’s not a significant problem.” Well, if these “investigations” are anything like our own experience, this is a prime example of a self-fulfilling conclusion. Our secretary of state’s office and our own DA seem unwilling to investigate or even acknowledge the problem. Small wonder that ostrich “investigators” – in opposition to grass-roots residents – are finding that voter fraud is “not a significant problem.” See no evil. Hear no evil. … You get the picture.

Our situation is different from President Trump’s claims of voter fraud in that many (though not all) of the phony voters in Beverly Hills are U.S. citizens who simply don’t live in Beverly Hills and therefore are not entitled to vote in municipal elections. But the problem remains a serious one at any level of government and we deserve to have faith in the integrity of our electoral system at all levels of government.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Secretaries of State issued the following statement: “We are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump, but we are open to learning more about the administration’s concerns.”

How about also being open to learning about the concerns of cities in which elections are won and lost by seven votes? How about taking action in instances in which voter fraud clearly has taken place and in which there are ongoing attempts to rig our elections?

Whatever the situation at the national level, we in Beverly Hills are committed to doing whatever we can to protect the integrity of our local elections, even if we do not receive the support from the authorities who are tasked with doing so. Because if the integrity of our electoral system is not protected, if bad actors know that they can literally get away with voter fraud without any consequences, then we can expect to see this phenomenon spread and grow, further undermining our democracy.

Local government, when done right, is the best form of democracy because it is closest to home. For it to mean anything, though, the elections in which the residents choose their local leaders and decide on local issues must be on the up and up. Sacramento, we have a problem.

And so the Beverly Hills Anti-Voter Fraud Initiative is born. Let’s hope other cities and municipalities join us to create a coalition against voter fraud. Our democracy is too precious to allow its very fundament, our elections, to be subverted.

John Mirisch is the Mayor of Beverly Hills. He has, among other things, created the Sunshine Task Force to increase transparency, ethics and public participation in local government. Mayor Mirisch is a CityWatch contributor.

This piece was originally published by City Watch LA

Comments

  1. John, don’t you realize that the job of a bureaucrat, whether elected or not, is to keep their head down, their “vesting” in-progress, and then to retire on a millionaire’s pension (in comparison to what the average taxpayer can expect) – it is not to tackle controversial issues that can only lead to personal heartache.

  2. It’s even worse when the Government is the one corrupting the election.
    In Trinity County the corrupt Board of Supervisor have appointed our last two Elections Officers (who are related). Elections observers, who have attempted to observe as prescribed by law, have proven that our local elections are fraudulent. The State and County BOS don’t care (they ‘benefit’ would be a more correct term). Our D.A. and Sheriff included. Trinity County doesn’t even post what they are required to post at the Sec of State Office. Their 1% Manual Tally is completely fake:)
    Trinity County is so homologous that ,on local issues, when the results are delivered to the Elections Officer they come up 70% to 30%. For example: there were about 500 votes for Supervisor. About 200 more votes came in. Almost a third more votes but it only changed the percentage by one thousandth. (0.01); still 70% – 30%.

    I guess we all think exactly alike…or there is election fraud.

    That is just one of many examples of election fraud which we can prove. Talk about frustrating…at least your government acts as if it cares.

  3. Here a note from Linda Payne, President and co-founder of Election Integrity Project:

    As of today the reality of widespread election corruption and vote fraud is uppermost in the national conversation. Troubling to the Election Integrity Project is the common theme of many commentators that there is no documented evidence to support the President’s claims. They Are Wrong!

    It’s time to look at the facts

    Over the last six years, Election Integrity Project, Inc. (EIP) has:
    Proved that ELECTION CORRUPTION and FRAUD exist and are RAMPANT in CA.

    Exposed HOW IT’S DONE in California….with no fear of prosecution!

    Trained citizen Observers to observe the election procedures at the polls and during the ballot processing/signature verification procedures.
    Our volunteers DOCUMENTED violations of election laws and procedures that resulted in the failure to protect votes and voters at the moment of the infraction.
    Analyzed voter rolls in multiple counties, as well as the state several times.
    The EIP Data Team exposed hundreds of thousands of illegal names on the voter rolls across the state (dead, duplicates/multiples, and people registered in more than one county. They also exposed numbers of people registered at offices and PO boxes (not legal).
    Most importantly, the EIP Data Team documented actual numbers of dead people who voted and the number of people who apparently voted more than once, which shows why keeping the rolls clean is so important.
    Attempted to provide that information to people in positions of authority (legislators, the Secretary of State, and Registrars) who can correct the lack of integrity in the electoral system in California.
    Helped to organize, and participated in a full day public hearing on California’s electoral process held by the California Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. The hearing took place on August 28, 2015.

    Let’s examine the results

    Communication with Registrars of Voters/ Publication of Reports
    A few counties made an effort to correct the issues brought before them. But most counties completely ignored our efforts to assist in the improvement of their training and voter roll maintenance.
    Communication with Secretary of State
    The Election Integrity Project Board provided documentation of the issues contributing to the erosion of the integrity of CA elections; our concerns were met with hostility and dismissed with a statement that the Secretary of State did not have the authority to act.
    Communication with Legislators
    Many representatives were concerned but were powerless to stop any of the legislation that destroyed the integrity of CA elections. Some continue to alert us when new legislation is introduced, and ask for our input.
    We have had no real effect because corrupt legislators know that they have made it almost impossible to vote them out. Positive legislation was immediately killed in committee, and harmful legislation has been bulldozed and passed time and time again.
    Civil Rights Hearing
    Positive:
    Election Integrity Project representatives and ordinary citizens came from all over California to tell their stories and express their frustrations that their votes and their voices are not being heard due to corruption of the system.
    The Director of the Western Region was strongly impacted by our evidence, and indicated that similar investigations are probably necessary in other states.

    Negative:
    The Director of the Western Region was replaced without explanation by someone in D.C. who has not visited California and may not have read the evidence presented in the hearing.
    The resulting report has been heavily edited and redacted, removing all county-specific evidence of corruption. In EIP’s opinion, the meat and most important evidence presented have been removed, and the citizens’ process for civil rights protection has been stopped by powerful people and groups that do not want the truth to be known.

    CONCLUSIONS:

    Election Integrity Project, Inc. is an educational, research and watchdog organization. We can only provide documented evidence to those who have the power and authority to provide justice for the citizens in CA who have lost their voice in government.

    The Election Integrity Project is eager to provide President Trump with SIX Years’ worth of documentation of how the fraud is being committed in California through “lawful” means by ignoring election laws that are in place to protect ALL citizens, and by passing new laws that are certainly unconstitutional (such as recent ones that encourage and make it easy for noncitizens not only to work in the polling places but also to actually vote).

    • I was not aware of this group but I will share with them a declaration I prepared back in 2003 which fell on totally deaf ears although presented to all of the proper authorities. I never heard back from any of them from the SOS’s office to the local Registrar-Recorder. Very frustrating that we pay them to obviously do very little.

    • UpChuck.Liberals says

      I can honestly say that at my polling stationin Santa Clara Valley there was NO fraud. I was a worker there and we followed the strict letter of the law. That said, I believe that there was fraud in the vote by mail. When I did the audit at the end of the night, the A ballots were very close to 50/50 on a casual observation. BUT the final tally as reported by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters was 64-36. We had people come in that hadn’t voted for over 10 years. At least 90% of them had their ID out and were shocked that we didn’t require ID. I will be working the next elections and I WILL SPEAK UP.

  4. I just have to add;
    We have a Constitutional Republican form of government…NOT a Democracy.
    Not a wonder we are in the mess we’re in when even Mayors of large cities don’t understand the basics 🙁

    • When we lived as a Republic, we were safe. However, now that the millennials believe we’re a democracy, we cannot and will not survive. Democracies do not last because eventually they run out of other people’s money. As far as your previous comment is concerned, since CA is 70/30 Dem/Rep, the figures do not surprise me. The GOP no longer has a say in CA due to our idiotic “top two” primary procedures.

      • True Teacher says

        In days gone by, there was another principle enshrined in the American system by our founders: Majority rule with protection of minority rights. Small d democrats ignore this now that they’ve imported and weened voters dependent upon government, which translates to dependence on the Democrat Party. Republicans in the last century have always relied on switch voters to help them carry certain races for public offices. That happened last November and Democrat Party partisans know that the only sure way they can never lose an election is to find new, foreign born constituencies. Their pissing all over the Constitution has the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.

        • Kay Graves says

          Our Founders promoting ‘majority rule’ is false. Each of us have Rights. A million people can’t vote away the Rights of even one of us. That we have Rights and that Rights are inalienable are founding principles. Majority rule is nothing but the tyranny of many over the few (AKA Democracy). In this way, our Rights are also protected from the tyranny of the few over the many. They are still our Rights…we just let them be stolen.
          Well, that is my take on it…

  5. Frank Verano says

    If you stand over fertile soil and look down, you can truthfully say that you see absolutely no earth worms. Scratch the surface and you’ll see a few. Dig deep and you’ll see a lot of them.

  6. Thom Raasio says

    Wake up…..this is Communist California,……run by communist progressive democrat socialist. Voter fraud is their favorite game. They will NEVER do anything to stop it. They are NOT Americans in ideology or spirit. They are America’s (California’s DOMESTIC ENEMIES)

  7. True Teacher says

    Well, some dictators have been known to sing this variation on a theme from the democratic process:

    “It’s not who wins the elections but who counts the votes.” What were they asking Trump before the election? Something about “How will you react if you lose? Will you help to enable a smooth, peaceful transition of power?”

    “THAT MAN IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!”, cry the elitists.

    Ben Franklin, answering a woman’s question about the type of government the founding fathers crafted:

    “A republic, madame, if you can keep it.”

  8. Gary Von Neida says

    Voter Fraud is (or at least should be ) a CLASS A FELONY as it undermines the way of life for all Americans. If “fraud voting” is not punished severely , then, the “rich,evil” will always have what They “pay for”. George Soros paying for demonstrations against the enforcement of Law is a prime example——-America was founded by wonderful enlightened Men;but, unless We are vigilant We stand to lose Our Country.

  9. We had voter fraud in our area too. Was reported to the County Registrar and he basically DID NOTHING. So we sure can’t count on them to follow the law.

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