Fix AB 840 to Save CA Election Integrity

AB 840 is an election bill before the CA Senate.

 The problem:


Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Voting Rights Task Force (VRTF), Open Ballot Initiative (OBI), Citizens Oversight Project (COPS) and democracy advocates across the California insist the Assembly remand AB 840 from the Senate in order to review the significant change added May 23 without Assembly approval.  

Stealth insertion of the May 23 amendment to AB 840 gutted the foundation of California Election Integrity – paper ballots, and 1% random selection of precinct and mail vote batches for hand-audit to verify results. Section 15360 says that the 1% "public manual tally” must include vote by mail ballots. This means all of them, provided that they are postmarked by election day, and arrive by the Friday after the election, as allowed by law.

The authors, Assemblymembers Quirk (D-20) and Obernolte (R-33) were somehow convinced to insert an amendment AFTER Assembly passage. It changes CA Election Code 15360. The added language is below in bold italics:

(1) (A) A public manual tally of the ballots canvassed in the semifinal official canvass, including vote by mail ballots but not including provisional ballots, cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official.

They made nearly identical changes in sections (2)(A) and (2)(B).

The key phrase “semifinal official canvass” means the results reported on election night. It includes ballots cast in the precinct, and vote by mail ballots that arrive by election night. It excludes ballots that arrive Wednesday through Friday, and all provisional ballots. Millions of them.

AB 840 reverses the ruling by San Diego. Superior Court Judge Wohlfeil (Lutz v. Vu) that said the 1% audit had to include all mail ballots, not just the ones arriving by election day. Over half of California now votes by mail. Now that election officials won recent legislation that allowed them to shift a county to all vote-by-mail, and to count ballots received up to 3 days after Election Day, the number of excluded ballots could become decisive in determining outcomes. The LA Times reported that on Nov. 10, two days after the election, over 4 million ballots remained uncounted. They were mostly mail and provisional ballots. Legally exempting such large numbers from scrutiny is an invitation to corruption.


The Assembly Elections Committee can cut the section 15360 amendment from the bill and demand that the Senate consider only AB 840 as originally passed by their committee and the full Assembly.

Please write and/or call the members of the Assembly Elections Committee (below). Urge them to revert AB 840 to the original version passed by the Assembly April 20.

Exemptions from California's audit law would send elections backwards in our state.

                Marc Berman (Chair): (916) 319-2024

                Mathew Harper (Vice Chair): (916) 319-2074

                Ian C. Calderon: (916) 319-2057

                Evan Low: (916) 319-2028

                Kevin Mullin: (916) 319-2022

                Jim Patterson: (916) 319-2023

                Shirley Weber: (916) 319-2079

You should also write to the committee secretary: The subject line should read: AB 840: Cut section 15360.

Tell them that AB 840 was significantly amended after it left the Assembly. To protect our election audits, the Assembly needs to call it back, and cut section 15360 from the bill. All vote by mail ballots must remain part of the 1% audit.

Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity,

Mimi Kennedy for
PDA California

Save State Sen. Josh Newman from Unfair Republican Recall

Here's the Dem side the story (from the Fresno Bee):

To recap: Democrat Newman very narrowly won an Orange County-centered state Senate seat last year, one that had been in Republican hands for as long as anyone can remember. After besting the Democratic Party’s preferred candidate in the June primary election, he edged a Republican assemblywoman, Ling Ling Chang, in the November runoff.

Newman’s win embarrassed Republicans and restored the two-thirds Democratic “supermajority” in the Senate. And after Newman voted to raise gasoline taxes for highway maintenance, the GOP launched a drive to recall him, assuming that a special election’s ultra-low voter turnout would make it difficult for Newman to survive.

His vote for the unpopular gas tax was the recall signature drive’s misleading rationale, alleging that he was the decisive factor in approval, even though it was the vote of one Republican senator that actually did the deed. Newman was singled out only because his win last year sealed the Democratic supermajority and his district’s conservative leanings would make him vulnerable.

In brief, Newman did nothing to warrant being recalled[....]


Click here to visit Newman's site and help save CA's Democratic legislative supermajority from Republican attack.


Read more here:

Feinstein Primary Challenge?

SAN FRANCISCO — Sen. Dianne Feinstein has dominated California politics for more than a quarter of a century. But facing blistering criticism that she’s out of touch with the progressive left following her recent comments about President Donald Trump and DACA, it’s increasingly looking like the Democratic lawmaker will face a major primary challenge if she runs for a fifth full term.

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CD 11 Bonin | July Neighborhoods First Newsletter






Welcome to the July issue of Mike Bonin's Neighborhoods First newsletter!

IN THIS ISSUE: Mike's second inauguration celebratory tree giveaway kicks off with a great first event, free smoke detectors are distributed in Pacific Palisades, new signs point to Ladera, and early data is made available about the effects of a street safety project in Mar Vista... but first, please read this month's Neighborhoods First Profile about a wonderful South Brentwood neighbor who has made her community better by getting involved.

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Here’s How Trumputin and the Russians Did Their Evil Dance

 by Ted Vaill - Board Member PaliDem Club

After 50 years as a lawyer, dealing largely with complex cases, I have become adept at parsing through facts and coming up with a “theory of the case”: a storyline that explains what happened. I am not always right, but I have found that I am usually right. So here is my storyline as to how Trumputin (as I call him) became entwined with Putin and his Russian thugs and won the 2016 American Presidential election…

What Probably Happened

In the mid-1990s, Trumputin’s business operations were bankrupt, largely because of his bad bets on Atlantic City casinos, and no banks would loan him money for his future operations. So he shifted his business operations to licensing his name to various business ventures, taking a licensing fee and putting no money into the ventures. Ten years later, his business was again basically solvent, but the banks still would not touch him, except for some sketchy ones, like Deutsche Bank, which specialized in money laundering for Russian oligarchs, and other similar sleazy characters, like those operating the Bank of Cyprus. read more

Poster of the Week




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Fareed Zakaria made a scary prediction about democracy in 1997 — and it's coming true

"I thought this was interesting, especially with regards to the decline of political parties as a moderating force." Nora Hazi

Twenty years ago, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria wrote an essay in Foreign Affairs titled “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy.” His thesis was that democracies around the world were surrendering to illiberal reforms, and that the strands holding the traditions of democracy and liberalism together were rapidly eroding.

“From Peru to the Palestinian Authority, from Sierra Leone to Slovakia, from Pakistan to the Philippines,” he wrote, “we see the rise of a disturbing phenomenon in international life — illiberal democracy.”

Zakaria’s piece made an important distinction between democracy and liberalism, constructs that are often conflated. Democracy is a process for choosing leaders; it’s about popular participation. To say that a state is democratic is to say little about how it is actually governed.  read more


Want to Civilize You Poster of the Week


Open Letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Healthcare -- PaliDems

Mark A. Hirshfeld, LCSW
Ventura County Activists for Bernie Sanders

Dear Governor Brown,

I have campaigned for you in every election.  I did so because I believed that you would work on behalf of the people of California. Californians need your help now.  My wife has a  terminal illness. She requires frequent doctor visits and expensive medication in order to stay out of the hospital.  As she is not yet 65, she stands to lose all health coverage, if our Republican Congress wins their war against the nation's health.  So the political is now personal. 

I, too have been diagnosed with a precursor for a very bad cancer.  My elderly mother is likely to be soon placed in a nursing facility.  So many other Californians are in similar, or even worse positions.  Our lives hang in the balance, and Congress does not care.

Governor Brown, we need your help to bring SB562 Healthy California to the Assembly floor.  The bill may not yet be perfect, but it cannot be improved if it remains shelved as you asked Speaker Rendon to do.  This bill, according to the already completed financial study, will save the state billions of dollars.  The economic impact, though, does not stop there.  Without access to healthcare, more people will be forced to rely on emergency rooms for treatment. Read more