November’s local elections saw upwards of $100,000 in outside money pour into IB in pursuit of city council positions that pay about $600/month. Additional outside influence may have come in the form of ballot harvesting – the practice of collecting and returning the ballots of others. While potentially unseemly, ballot harvesting is unfortunately generally legal under California law. Couple this practice with California’s decision to automatically mail out ballots to all registered voters (whether that person wanted one or not) to the address on file (whether that person still lived there or not), and you have a recipe for many votes of questionable integrity. Until 2016, as a safeguard against ballot tampering, only a relative or member of the same household could assist you in returning your ballot. Now, absolutely anyone can do it, whether you have known them all your life or just met them when they showed up at your door asking for your ballot.
The Citizens for Coastal Conservancy (C4CC) is a true local IB non-profit, comprised exclusively of people who all live within a short beach cruiser ride from each other. In addition to the environment, one of C4CC’s missions is transparency and integrity in local government, to include local elections. C4CC has received reports of ballot harvesting in IB by outside groups, coupled with a “store gift card in exchange for your ballot” scheme.
To this end, C4CC has recently filed a CA Public Records Act request with Mr. Michael Vu, San Diego County Registrar of Voters, seeking any documents that may substantiate these allegations. The response to this request is still pending.