Category Archives: DOJ

San Carlos New Police Chief SMCSO Captain Kristina Bell. Why?

By Michael G. Stogner

Why would the City Manager Jeff Maltbie and the City Council think this is a good choice to lead the law enforcement of San Carlos by its vendor the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. They all know or should have known about the Special Treatment she received by the Redwood City Police Department when it received a 911 call for Domestic Violence at her Redwood City residence. No Arrest, No gun removed, No Police Report.

Any one of the City Leaders could have simply Googled her name Lt. Kristina Bell D.V. 911 and found out about that.

What is her position on Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos releasing the AXON LOG RECORDS in the Half Moon Bay Homicide by Sheriff Deputies of Sandra Lee Harmon on May 5, 2020. The Sheriff’s Office said there was a Shoot Out and Ms. Harmon fired first, There is no Evidence of that, There is Evidence of three Spent Shell casings being moved at the crime scene.

What was her position on the Sheriff’s Office issuing 2 False News Releases on October 3, 2018 on the Homicide of Chinedu V. Okobi by Sheriff Deputies and one Sheriff Employee.

What is her position on the Sheriff’s Office issuing a News Release December 4, 2020 stating: On Friday, December 4, 2020, Bonilla was booked into the San Mateo County Jail on 7 counts of Grand Theft. Bail was set at $70,000. Checking with the Court Clerk on December 8, 2020 no record of her being arrested or in San Mateo County Jail on December 4, 2020. The DOJ Investigation was for Embezzlement and Laundering how did that turn into Grand theft?

What is her position on the Sheriff’s Office NOT RELEASING the Booking photo of Barbara Bonilla former Sheriff Activities League Executive Director, Former Sheriff Employee, and 2018 Campaign Manager for Sheriff Bolanos.

Why would Jeff Maltbie think this is a good fit for San Carlos?

May 28, 2018 Article D.V Lt Kristina Bell

I think think everyone understands the game of getting ahead in America. Get on the Special Elite TEAM, become one of “Those Who Matter” Special Treatment on a 911 Domestic Violence Call is about is about as Elite as you can get. San Mateo County Domestic Violence Protocol was Violated on that call. Many on the Those Who Matter team knew about it and kept their mouths shut.

Is this who the residents of San Carlos want to be in charge of their Law Enforcement Services?

San Carlos City Press Release

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Barbara Bonilla SAL Embezzlement case. Police Report SEALED, Why?

By Michael G. Stogner

Barbara Bonilla

This case is being Prosecuted by the State of California A.G. Office.

The Public understands that people are just human beings and there a bad apples everywhere. When one is discovered we the people expect those who know to speak up, Notify the Public Immediately. San Mateo County Sheriff Activity League of all the organizations involving Children, Volunteers, Donors and Sheriff Deputies should have been the first group of people to inform the Public about this Embezzlement. All 7 Print Media in SMC should have had front page stories about this on February 10, 2020. None of them did. ClimateRWC should have had the story first Adam Alberti the Editor is on SAL Board, he knew.

People who knew

Case Information

20-SF-013661-A | The People of the State of California vs. BARBARA BONILLA 

 Case Number 
20-SF-013661-A Court 
Criminal File Date 
12/04/2020 Case Type 
Complaint Case Status 
Active 

Party

Defendant
BONILLA, BARBARA DOB 
XX/XX/XXXX  

Charge

Charges 
BONILLA, BARBARA

  DescriptionStatuteLevelDate
 001PC487(a)-FEL-Grand Theft By Embezzlement487(a)Felony03/01/2017
 002PC487(a)-FEL-Grand Theft By Embezzlement487(a)Felony09/15/2017
 003PC487(a)-FEL-Grand Theft By Embezzlement487(a)Felony10/14/2018
 004PC487(a)-FEL-Grand Theft By Embezzlement487(a)Felony12/18/2018
 005PC487(a)-FEL-Grand Theft By Embezzlement487(a)Felony02/15/2019
 006PC487(a)-FEL-Grand Theft By Embezzlement487(a)Felony03/01/2019
 007PC487(a)-FEL-Grand Theft By Embezzlement487(a)Felony10/21/2019

Bond Settings

 Setting Date
 12/4/2020

Events and Hearings

  • 12/04/2020 New Filed Case 
  • 12/04/2020 Warrant issued 
  • 12/04/2020 Order to seal police report pursuant to PC 964 / local rule  Comment 
    9.8 filed 
  • 12/04/2020 Declaration in support of Criminal Complaint filed 
  • 12/04/2020 Police Report ordered sealed per PC 964

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When Mark Melville becomes SMC Sheriff in 2022.

I asked the only Candidate for San Mateo County Sheriff in the 2022 Election a direct question about the Axon Log Records that Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos is refusing to make public in the Sandra L. Harmon Homicide of May 5, 2020 in Half Moon Bay.

Candidate Mark Melville’s answer:

I can assure you unequivalently, I will release said records…..There is absolutely no reason not to release the records….Transparency…!!!!  

On Fri, Nov 27, 2020 at 7:47 AM Michael Stogner <michaelgstogner@yahoo.com> wrote:
Somebody has asked me, to ask you and I think you have already answered but this is a little different.
When you are elected Sheriff of San Mateo County will you release the Axon Log Records in the Sandra L. Harmon Homicide right away.

Thank You
Michael G. Stogner San Mateo County News.com

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Half Moon Bay asks A.G. to Conduct an Independent Criminal Investigation.

By Michael G. Stogner

That in it’s self is Historical for any City in San Mateo County, to Question Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, and District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe’s Version of events in the Shooting Death a Homicide of Sandra L. Harmon on May 5, 2020 at 845 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, California.

September 28, 2020 Letter to The Honorable Xavier Becerra and Supervising Deputy Attorney General Joyce Blair.

I’m just going to talk about Bullet Point 1 and 4

#1 The first deputy turned off his body camera in violation of San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office policy.

The City was asked to Identify the Deputy so the public would know who the City was talking about. They chose not to.

Just because somebody says something is true, doesn’t mean that it is.

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos and District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe have told the world that Sheriff Deputy Dominguez turned off his Body Worn Camera BWC. To this day that is all that it is. The WORD of the Sheriff and District Attorney. There is NO EVIDENCE provided (AXON LOG RECORDS) to prove that statement to be TRUE. As a matter of Fact, the San Mateo County Counsel has done everything possible to make sure the AXON LOG RECORDS do not get released to the PUBLIC. Just ask John Ullom.

#4 Although the Deputies have said that they fired at Ms. Harmon form some distance away from her, certain pistol shell casing were found very near Ms. Harmon’s body. In addition there were inconsistencies in the location of casings recovered at the scene.

You wouldn’t know from reading Bullet point #4 that the subject was Tampering with Evidence at a Crime Scene. Specifically the moving of and placing 3 Pistol Shell Casings from one location to another.

This Tampering with Evidence at a Crime scene is kind of a Big Deal.

The 3 Pistol Shell Casings caused 2 Bullet Holes that was never mentioned in the Official reports. This alone changes the ENTIRE OFFICIAL REPORT.

HMB SPECIAL MEETING September 15, 2020 27:30 mark

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SMC Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos Does release BWC Video and Audio under 24 Hours.

By Michael G. Stogner

Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos

Just Not to the Public.

I have been recommending for years that Law Enforcement provide the Unedited Body Worn Camera, and MAV Dash Camera Video and Audio within the first 24 Hours. It turns out Sheriff Bolanos does release it, the question is to whom?

Update: 8:44 AM That person has been identified as Jamie Draper of the District Attorney’s Office.

In the Sandra L. Harmon Homicide May 5, 2020 in Half Moon Bay California, San Mateo County Sheriff Sgt. Jon Sebring authorized Someone to access the Evidence.com a data site owned by AXON Inc. The same company that manufactures the devices Law Enforcement uses, Tasers, BWC, MAV Video and Remote Microphone etc.

How do I know this?

Involved Deputy John Baba – BWC Analysis 

On May 6, 2020 I received an Email via Evidence.com sent by San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Jon Sebring granting me access to the uploaded Body Worn Camera (BWC) and Mobile Audio Video (MAV) footage from the Officer Involved Critical Incident (OICI) on May 5, 2020 in the City of Half Moon Bay. 

I located the file for the BWC footage for Involved Deputy John Baba, which I downloaded from Evidence.com. From prior experience and in speaking with Sergeant Sebring, I know that the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office currently utilizes the Axon 2 Body Worn Camera (BWC) which records video at 29.98 fps. I uploaded this video file into a video processing software known as VideoMach version 5.15.1 where I was able to mark the “in” and “out” points of the portion of the video which specifically covered the entirety of the incident and was able to remove the non- pertinent portions without altering the original video. I then added overlays which included a timer in the upper left of the video frame, the title “Deputy John Baba – BWC” at the top center of the video frame and absolute frame numbers (AFNs) in the upper right corner of the video frame. Each of these overlays were placed in positions to not interfere with the activity occurring in each video frame. I then finalized the video and saved this new version under the file name “Baba BWC with AFN and timecode”. I also utilized VideoMach to decompile the finished video into 17,619 individual frames to be utilized in this report. 

So there are a couple of Questions here, Who’s is the Author of this report? I have asked San Mateo County District Attorney Senior Inspector Rick Decker that exact question yesterday, He is getting back to me.

The second Question is Why is the Sheriff’s Office providing this data in less than 24 hours to somebody who has the Authority to Edit and add CAPTIONS to promote a False Story.

The third Question, Since the District Attorney’s Office was Investigating this Homicide case, shouldn’t they have controlled the Data?

Since the City of Half Moon Bay Special Meeting September 15, 2020, after hearing the Eblovi Presentation by 3 speakers at the 27:30 mark, every person attending that meeting especially the City Managers, City Attorney, the Five Councilmembers, and SMC District Attorney all knew the evidence provided showed 3 shell casings were deliberately moved, That’s Evidence Tampering, 2 bullet strikes in a location that only the Eblovi Investigators even bothered to look.

Sheriff Deputy Dominguez fired First was the conclusion of the Eblovi Investigation. Everyone in that meeting knew it at that moment. I was shocked I had been working on the Sandra L. Harmon case since May 5, 2020 I never saw those 3 shell casings before even though they were right there. I have gone back and reviewed several videos and photos provided by the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, and I can confirm the 3 shells can be seen behind Sandra L. Harmon as she is being fired at while she was Unarmed which means they were Fired First just like the Eblovi Investion reported.

That means the entire story provided to the public is False.

The Eblovi Presentation at 27:30 Mark

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The Eblovi Investigation Sheriff Deputy Fired First not Sandra Harmon.

This is an Op-Ed by David Eblovi.

Here is what I would tell you if you were of a mind to listen.

I would show you a photograph, one of several, showing a 56-year-old woman being shot fatally in the back with her hands raised above her head. If you were interested we could go through the images, taken at 30 frames per second and unintentionally released in full resolution by the district attorney’s office. If we did, you would see that after she has already been fatally wounded and her gun is on the ground, as her arms are still in the air and her back is still toward the deputy doing the shooting, he takes one last shot at her.

We can see these things in such detail only because, in the process of releasing the case material to the public, an individual working for the DA’s office released a full-resolution video copy of the incident instead of the much less clear version released previously on June 19 in an attempt to conceal the truth from the public.

Yet those aren’t the only things I can show you. There is an image of three 9mm shell casings taken from the body-cam videos. Casings that disappeared (and then reappeared elsewhere) in the crime-scene photographs taken roughly an hour or two later. And, no, let me stop you there. They were not “inadvertently moved” by first responders as one of them is under a two-by-four board and next to a parking bollard.

Then we can go look at a 9mm bullet hole in the building directly adjacent to the crime scene that is still there for anyone to go look at if they are so disposed. That hole, and the 9mm casings, speak to an entirely different story than that put forward by the Sheriff’s Office and the DA. That probably explains why none of them appear in the official report on the shooting.

The casings and bullet hole were there because the deputy in question fired at Sandra Harmon first, from just behind the RV where all this happened. They were moved to hide the truth of what happened from public view.

I can also show you a detailed timeline, both the version that they propose (which does not work) and the actual one, where Harmon does not fire until she has already had three rounds fired at her.

What no one can show you is the body camera footage or even the log files for the deputy’s two camera systems because the DA and Sheriff say they A.) don’t exist and B.) they don’t have to release them anyway.

Last week the Half Moon Bay City Council did a noble thing, voting unanimously to forward the matter to the California attorney general for review. Many probably thought the fight for the truth was over at that point.

But the AG rejects the vast majority of referrals for being beneath their attention. Yet if the manslaughter of a private person with mental health issues isn’t enough to get that attention then what is, you ask.

Here’s the problem: The city is moving quickly to put a draft of the letter in front of the Public Safety Subcommittee tonight — the day you are probably reading this — so members can approve it and send it on its way to the AG. The letter will go without any of the evidence I have detailed above.

Call me silly, but I’d like to think of Half Moon Bay as a place where you cannot kill someone illegally without being held to account. No matter who you are. So far, the Sheriff’s Office and the DA’s office have worked effectively and with great intent to keep the facts of what happened here on May 5 from the public. Were it not for a few slip-ups, they probably would have succeeded.

It’s up to the people who live here in Half Moon Bay to decide whether we are going to sit idly by and let this travesty pass like so many others, or stand and say, “No more, not in my city. This must stop.”

I will be forwarding the information I described above, and much more, to the AG, hopefully as an appendix or attachment to the letter that is sent to the AG, but, if not, as a stand-alone packet from me personally as a citizen. Hats off to the council and specifically to Mayor Adam Eisen for getting the DA to come visit us, setting up this unprecedented (for us) chain of events in an attempt to hold our law enforcement agencies accountable for their actions.

David Eblovi is a resident of Half Moon Bay.

All San Mateo County Residents should be thanking the Ebloivi family for this work they have done.

HMB Special Meeting September 15, 2020 Ebloivi Investigation Presentation at 27:30 mark

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Filed under #2americas, #citizenoversight, #SanMateoCountyNews, Body Camera Video, Chinedu Okobi R.I.P. Homicide, Citizen Journalist, David Silberman, Deborah Penrose, Deborah Ruddock, DOJ, Evidence Tampering, Government Hiding the Obvious, Jamie Draper, John Ullom, John Warren, Joseph Charles, Michael G. Stogner, Mike Callagy, Outrageous Government Conduct, San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers, San Mateo County District Attorney Office, Sandra Harmon R.I.P., Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos, SMC, SMCSO Deputy David Dominguez, SMCSO Deputy John Babe, SMCSO PERT TEAM, SMCSO PIO Rosemerry Blankswade, SMCSO Sergeant James E. Goulart, Steve Wagstaffe, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate, Yanira Serrano Garcia R.I.P.

Half Moon Bay Mayor Adam Eisen fails to act after being misled by Law Enforcement.

By Michael G. Stogner

Adam Eisen

Adam Eisen the Mayor of Half Moon Bay should have already suspended or demanded the suspension of Sheriff Deputy Dominguez, for firing 5 shots at close range at Sandra L. Harmon an unarmed civilian with her hands up above her head. May 5, 2020 She was shot 8 times 3 shots to the back were fatal. She died at the scene. Since May 5, 2020 Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos and PIO Rosemerry Blankswade, San Mateo County District Attorney Office and San Mateo County Counsel have all misled the Mayor and the Public as to what really happened at 845 Main Street in HMB that night.

San Mateo County could use more elected officials like Mayor Lovely Warren.

Mayor Eison should have already followed the lead of ROCHESTER, N.Y Mayor Lovely Warren.

ROCHESTER, N.Y Mayor Lovely Warren suspended 7 police officers in the Daniel Reil Prude Homicide, who said she was misled for months about the circumstances of the fatal encounter.. and she was taking the action against the advice of attorneys.

September 15, 2020 the City of Half Moon Bay is having its meeting and San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe will be talking about his 12 page letter to Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos where he found no crime had occurred so no charges against the two Sheriff Deputies involved.

So basically City Manager Bob Nesbit and Deputy Manager Matthew Chidester decided to meet with Steve Wagstaffe to discuss my 2 emails to Bob Nesbit recommending he contact the Attorney General or the D.O.J. to have them conduct an investigation into the Homicide by SMC Sheriff Employees of Sandra L. Harmon.

The meeting will be on Zoom and the Public is invited to ask District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe questions.

Law Enforcement said there was a Shoot Out and Sandra L. Harmon fired first. She had a Shotgun, GSR test did not confirm she fired the Shotgun. Nobody saw her fire the shotgun. Shotgun was found with two spent shells nobody smelled the shotgun. I have asked Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos and PIO Rosemerry Blankswade how many Shotgun Pellets were recovered from the scene they have refused to answer my question.

Michael Stogner <michaelgstogner@yahoo.com>To: Carlos Bolanos, Public Information Officer Mon, Aug 31 at 10:41 AM

Hello Sheriff Bolanos and PIO Blankswade,
Now that the Investigation is complete by the District Attorney’s Office 
Can you tell me the total number of Shotgun Pellets that were recovered on May 5, 2020 845 Main Street, Half Moon Bay.

Thank You
Michael G. Stogner San Mateo County News.com

Remember the ROCHESTER, N.Y Mayor Lovely Warren was misled for months about the circumstances of the fatal encounter.. and she was taking the action against the advice of attorneys.

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Coroners Report Complete for Sandra Lee Harmon R.I.P.

By Michael G. Stogner

Sandra Harmon

Sandra Lee Harmon was the Unarmed woman who was shot at and killed by at least one San Mateo County Sheriff Deputy on May 5, 2020 in Half Moon Bay, California. She was shot at by Sheriff Deputy David Dominguez at least 5 times while she was unarmed and had her hands above her head. It’s not clear from the video if any of his shots hit her. Sheriff Deputy John Baba also fired shots at her as she bent down at the shotgun that was on the ground. This you can see in the video Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos released to the public 45 days after the killing.

August 24, 2020 I followed up with the San Mateo County Coroner on my request for a copy of the Official Coroners Report which will have the Manner of Death. The good news is the Report is now complete, and the Coroners Office has acknowledged my official request. The bad news is I was told that San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe would have to approve its release. They want to make sure it doesn’t impact any investigation by the D.A.’s Office. August 26, 2020 District Attorney has informed me the Investigation is complete and he expects to announce the results either tomorrow Friday 8/28/2020 or early next week. As soon as I get the copy I will report the results.

San Mateo County residents will remember that Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos stated early on that there was a shoot-out, She fired her shotgun at Deputy Dominguez first as he was taking cover. Sheriff Bolanos also released a highly edited video 45 days after the killing of Sandra L. Harmon, in that video the viewer can see Ms. Harmon is Unarmed with her hands above her head while Five shots are being fired at her. Sheriff Bolanos has also explained as a matter of fact that both the Body Camera and the MAV Audio of Deputy Dominguez does not exist. Why? How is that possible? That’s two for two recording devices for the benefit of both law enforcement and the public.

Is it really true that both recordings do Not Exist?

Videos should be released ASAP to eliminate any suspicion the public might have about the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office under the leadership of Carlos G. Bolanos.

Sheriff’s Office Video

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X San Mateo County Sheriff Activities League Executive Director Barbara Bonilla, Investigated for Embezzlement & Money Laundering.

By Michael G. Stogner

There is no question Barbara Bonilla stole a lot of money from SAL. The question for San Mateo County Residents is so what, Who is going to do anything about it? You can already tell how this is playing out. Nobody said a word until it was finally written about.

Barbara Bonilla was also the former campaign manager for Carlos G. Bolanos for Sheriff 2018. I first reported that she was on Administrative Leave in an article dated February 28, 2020. Now thanks to another Concerned Citizen named John Ullom we have a much clearer picture of what has been taken place behind the scenes of Law Enforcement in California. Today I have asked the Sheriff of San Mateo County Carlos G. Bolanos if he would answers a few simple questions, He has refused to answer so far, I will publish if and when he responds.

To Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos & PIO Rosemerry Blankswade,              August 14, 2020

Hello Sheriff Bolanos, and Rosemerry Blankswade,
Can you tell me What agency escorted Barbara Bonilla out of her Office at SAL and what date did that action happen?
What date did she resign from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office?
Is the Investigation by Sgt Michael Leishman completed and if so what date was it completed and what was his recommendation?
Has she been arrested or charged yet?
Thank You
Michael G. Stogner
San Mateo County News.com
To my knowledge Barbara Bonilla has not been charged with any crime and she has not been arrested, which makes her resigning from the SMC Sheriff’s Office in May even more questionable.
The DOJ has been conducting the criminal Investigation and San Mateo County Sheriff Sgt. Michael Leishman has been conducting some type of Internal Investigation most likely not criminal.
I do know that a Search Warrant and hopefully an arrest was expected on April 2, 2020. As of today there is NO Official Statement from the DOJ. Another interesting point is the Fact that SAL has Never been Audited. That is a terrible idea. Another terrible idea is how many Sheriff Employees were involved in this investigation. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe recused himself and his office because he is on the Board of Directors of SAL.
Now we wait to see what the DOJ is going to do. Remember Barbara Bonilla is not charged with any crime and has not been arrested. It’s been 7 months.

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Kevin Mullin didn’t say a word about Chinedu Okobi’s Homicide by 6 SMC Employees.

By Michael G. Stogner

Kevin Mullin did not attend or make a public comment at any of the many meetings the Board of Supervisors made available to the public to discuss, Excessive Use of Tasers, Excessive Use of Force, Failure to provide Medical Aid after killing Chinedu Okobi. He did not attend any of the many Concerned Citizens gatherings at the killing site in Millbrae/San Bruno.

Chinedu V. Okobi and George Floyd were both killed by Law Enforcement. Both of the Deaths were ruled a Homicide by the local Coroner. The Four Officers responsible for George Floyd’s Homicide were fired and Criminally Charged. The Six San Mateo County Sheriff Employees who are responsible for Chinedu Okobi’s Homicide are all working and None of them have been criminally charged with anything.

Here is Kevin’s PR piece on voting. You will notice he can’t even mention George Floyd’s Name. “most recently the murder of an unarmed black man by law enforcement.” That could be Hundreds of young Black/Brown Men around America.

I can say this as a Private Victim’s Advocate in San Mateo County for the last 22 years Kevin Mullin is the norm for Elected Officials in SMC.

I know of only one San Mateo County Elected Official that Publicly Questioned, was Chinedu V. Okobi Murdered. That should have been the Obvious question every single elected official should want the answer to.

Sabrina Brennan was that Elected Official. She attended meetings and gatherings.

 

America is confronting an unprecedented “trifecta” that is dominating our daily headlines: A COVID-19 pandemic, a deep recession and most recently the murder of an unarmed black man by law enforcement, illustrative of systemic racism and injustice that has spawned a season of multiracial protests and calls for needed social change. Yet, while the nation is reeling from these crises, duplicitous messaging is being deployed by the occupant of the Oval Office to actively undermine the results of this November’s election: that voting by mail can’t be trusted, that widespread voter fraud exists, and that mail balloting is designed specifically to elect his opponent: FALSE.

Since 2000, more than 250 million votes have been cast via mailed ballots, in all 50 states, according to the Vote at Home Institute with only a handful of fraudulent votes cast. Election law expert and U.C. Irvine professor Richard L. Hasen notes, it is still more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit mail-voting fraud. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that voting by mail benefits any particular political party.

San Mateo County has shown that voting-by-mail works. My legislation to make San Mateo County an all-mail ballot pilot county demonstrated that the participating electorate more closely resembles the public at large in terms of its diversity and representation, with young people, and voters of color in particular more likely to cast ballots. Thanks to my colleague, Assemblyman Marc Berman’s legislation recently signed into law, this November’s election in California will be an all-mailed-ballot election. Every voter automatically will receive a ballot, postage paid, with community-level “vote centers” as back-up. Voting by mail is the most efficient and effective way to conduct an inclusive and participatory election.

So-called “red and blue” states alike have employed voting-by-mail, but the way states have approached elections administration varies greatly. Elections are fundamentally state and locally administered, and recent examples of mismanagement during primary elections in Wisconsin and Georgia remind us of the challenges facing election administrators across the country. This is a highly charged political atmosphere with huge stakes on the line.

There is a growing recognition that the pandemic must force changes in how elections work, and better ensure more participation moving forward. Attempts to help fund elections with federal dollars have fallen woefully short of what is needed to ensure free and fair elections across America. Since the Bush-Gore contested election in 2000, the efficacy of voting mechanisms and machinery have taken center stage. More recently, we are seeing a coordinated misinformation campaign to attack the integrity of, and undermine the public’s faith in, our elections. False narratives abound, and voter suppression, which disproportionally disenfranchises communities of color, is real and we all suffer the consequences as a result.

While voting-by-mail works, it is not perfect. Signature-matching issues have led to ballots not being counted, a concern that is actively being addressed in California. One other legitimate drawback to voting at home is the time it takes local elections’ officials to count waves of mail ballots and certify the election. The current administration is preemptively trying to undermine faith in the eventual vote count and may try to exploit delays in vote tabulation to question the legitimacy of results, triggering a constitutional crisis. While the long wait for vote-by-mail results is not ideal, it’s in the interest of every vote being counted, which is fundamental to our democracy.

During this tense time when we need leaders who can calm, heal, and build faith, the president has used this period to further divide people and incite violence, all while callously attacking the basic underpinnings of our democracy, like faith in and respect for the work of journalists — essentially a broadside on the First Amendment. The work of journalists and the social media platforms themselves have never been more important in fact checking false claims and advertisements with false information.

Vote as if democracy itself, and its pillars like a free press, the rule of law, and free and fair elections, including the right of every citizen to vote, is on the ballot. Because it is.

 

Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, is speaker pro tempore of the California Assembly and represents San Mateo County’s 22nd Assembly District.

I asked San Mateo County Citizen Advocate Brent Turner for comment on Kevin Mullin Opinion Piece.

Brent Turner

The VOTE BY MAIL  act  is  innocuous to the degree that it reiterates voting by mail procedures. We have used absentee ballots for many years. What is NOT innocuous is the removal of polling places from communities of color. Though Mindy Romero and other experts have declined to state it clearly,  the added travel distance to some of these community residents results in a veritable “poll tax ” and leads to further disenfranchisement, . Subjective signature disqualification also creates opportunity for disenfranchisement and was predicted by election experts

The bill originally emanated from the ” Colorado Model ”  of elections and was  promulgated by Colorado based vendor DOMINION  The act is notorious not for what it mandates but what it ignores. The fact there is ZERO mention of the software used to tabulate the votes creates a severe point of misdirection to the layperson voter.  This is unfortunate as the authors of the bill positioned it as a security measure when this  is not the case. The authors were briefed extensively but chose to omit the work of the open source software security experts.

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