On the second day of Steve Pappas’ trial to unseat 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, his legal team continued to lay the foundation for a case based on widespread voter fraud.
Prosecuting attorney Jeff Lake spent much of the second full day in trial questioning staff from the Office of the Registrar about how voter identification is validated. Step by step, he questioned Renee Bischof – the head of operations for the County’s Elections Division – about the registration process, asking for specifics about protocol used to ensure that persons filling out voter registration cards were in fact who they said they were.
Lake has yet to produce any evidence that fraud occurred and has spent the first days of the trial attempting to show how problems with the registration process might have allowed invalid voters to cast ballots.
Pappas, who lost the November election to Farr by 806 votes, has claimed that endemic voter fraud existed throughout the 18 UCSB and Isla Vista precincts. He is now asking the judge to throw out a portion of the roughly 10,000 votes cast in those precincts. Based on voting percentages, Pappas would have to convince the judge to throw out approximately 3,000 votes to overcome his deficit to Farr.
Lake’s line of questioning yesterday focused primarily on the CalValidator system, the state’s verification program that matches information provided on voter registration cards with government records and informs the county registration office whether a match exists.
If no match exists, the individual is not put on the CalVoter list, but may be contacted by the county’s voter outreach service to try and obtain the correct information. If the voter cannot be contacted, they will be given a provisional ballot on Election Day.
Using flow charts as visual aid, Lake guided Bichof through the process, attempting to prove that the methods used by the county to insure the validity of voters were “invalid and inadequate.”
“As far as you’re concerned…even if [the name] didn’t match and even if outreach wasn’t successful, [a person] remains on the voter list?” Lake asked Bichof after she said that people not on CalVoter’s list can cast ballots. “Does this mean that people can say they’re someone other than who they are?”
When given the opportunity to cross-examine Bichof, Farr’s council Frederic Woocher presented a flow chart of his own. Naturally, his led to the contrary conclusion – that the CalValidator system had fulfilled its purpose during the registration process legally and legitimately, and that the majority of the voter cards came back as exact matches and weren’t a problem.
Furthermore, Woocher contested the prosecution’s assertion that names not matched by the CalValidator were illegitimate voters.
“The purpose of Calvalidator is not to validate that I am Fred Woocher, but to assign me a unique number for the state database,” he said. “The purpose is to identify a unique number with an individual.”
The prosecution is expected to call witnesses from the registration drives when the trial resumes tomorrow morning, including members of the Campus Democrats that were subpoenaed earlier this month.