Tag Archives: Butte County elections

Lou Binninger: “Is the voting system trustworthy?”

2 Jun

Last Fall when I asked Butte County Clerk Recorder Candace Grubbs a few pointy questions about missing ballots, thrown-out ballots, mis-addressed ballots, etc, she really got nasty with me, declaring that I was accusing her of something. It made me think of that line from Hamlet – “The lady doth protest too much…” She whirled around on the defensive faster than the Arkansas Razorbacks.


Contrast Grubbs’ reaction with that of Yuba County Clerk Recorder Terry Hansen when asked about voter fraud in Yuba County (Is the Voting System Trustworthy? by Lou Binninger )


The piece starts out with a notice that Hansen will be asking English non-proficient voters to send in a request for bilingual ballot booklets, but when Hansen seems open to chat, Binninger goes on to ask a few questions about voter fraud, citing one surprising instance of recent fraud right there in Yuba County. “Before Hansen’s tenure charges were filed against a city council candidate
for registering numerous individuals using a pool hall address. “

I was invited years ago to a meeting at District 2 Supervisor Larry Wahl’s office, he liked to have people sit around a table and discuss current issues, I respected that. Another person at the meeting was Mark Sorensen, former Chico mayor and current city council member. We got into a casual conversation in which Sorensen asserted that he had studied the voter rolls – available at the door of every precinct on election night for the public to peruse – and he’d seen the name of a prominent local person who listed his address as the building that houses the Jesus Center. We supposed that the man must live out of the city limits and wanted to vote in council elections, which is totally illegal. It set me to wondering – how many people register at their work addresses here in the city of Chico for the same reason? At a rental property? At their friend’s house? 

When I posed these questions to Grubbs, she went madder than a wet hen, again accusing me of accusing of accusing her of something. I asked, at that time, if I was allowed to purchase the voter rolls for inspection – I was perfectly willing to pay for them – but she said I had to be a registered PAC to be allowed to even see the rolls. They’re public information, like I say, they’re posted right at the door, on a post, of any polling precinct, for the public to inspect, but she said I had to be a PAC!

I’m not accusing her of anything, but she sure acts suspicious.

Terry Hansen describes new measures that are being put in place, assuring us that it will be easier for county clerks to keep track of who is registered where, when they move, even when they die. It sounds as simple as, the various counties are finally communicating with each other.  In past, it was entirely possible and I’d say probable, that people all over California – and the nation – were registered at various addresses as they moved from district to district, town to town, county to county, even state to state, simply because the people who run the system – county clerks – don’t stay up on this information, they don’t drop you from your old address when you register at your new address. This allows some people to be registered in multiple voting precincts, even in one town. 

I had at least three people complain to me that they still received voter information for people who had not lived at their house for years, in some instances, had moved completely out of state. 

As optimistic as Hansen seems about the changes, I believe the system is as strong or weak as the people in charge, and I believe the incompetence and entitled attitude of our public workers will perpetuate voter fraud. 




Turn those ballots in! According to Butte County clerk, less than a third of mail-in ballots had been received by October 29, with 1,789 of them “undeliverable”

7 Nov

 My friend finally reported to me, after a couple of inquiries, he received his mail-in ballot – on Thursday of last week.  I told him he should deliver it so there’s no excuses about the mail not being fast enough.

On October 29th I received this update from Candace Grubbs by way of my Third District Supervisor Maureen Kirk: 

To date we have issued:

91,431 vote by mail ballots including 1839 2nd ballots to voters who either did not get the first or had made mistakes on the first ballot.
27,248 voted ballots have been received plus 1789 Undeliverable ballots by today (Sat. Oct.29th)
                As normal, Butte County voters are hanging onto their ballots so I expect to see thousands returned to the polls, although we will keep encouraging them to vote and return prior to Election Day.  Remember only those ballots received by Monday, Nov. 7th will be processed in time to be in the first release of election votes after 8pm on Election Night.

There she says there were 1789 “Undeliverable ballots” – a friend of mine told me the post office declared him “undeliverable,” but continues to deliver his ex-girlfriend’s voting materials years after she moved to Missouri.  My husband, for some reason, was declared “undeliverable” one year and he had to ask for a “provisional” ballot at the polling station.  

Here’s my theory – the post office is still  living in the 1950’s. They seem to be unaware that people can live together (i.e. – “shack up“) in a one-bedroom apartment without being married.  Nor do they seem hip to the fact that often times married couples do not have the same last name. So they see two ballots going to the same address with different last names, and they decide one of them is a fraud. 

Yes, the post office – your mail man – has the power to take your name off the voter rolls without even mentioning it to you. 

To me, this is a mis-guided action of a lazy person who wants to be perceived as being on-top-of voter fraud.  Only the county clerk should be able to remove a person from the rolls, and there should be a process by which they prove this person is not living at the given address. Instead Grubbs is allowed to drop  people from the rolls on the advice of a mailman who may not even be on the same route more than a week.

Grubbs says she regularly checks the rolls for evidence of phony addresses. I think that’s a crock – if she did,  I’m betting she’d find a bunch of people registered at Chico  State, the school district office, and various schools around the city. My  belief is there are a lot of people who work here in Chico but don’t actually live in town, so they register at their job. I wouldn’t be surprised to find people registered at 411 Main Street.

She never had any excuse for my friend’s missing ballot aside from blaming the post office. When she finally resent him a ballot he had less than a week to return it. 

In that last paragraph she blames the voters. She’s worried she’ll have a lot of work to do on election day – well, I have to ask – isn’t that the job she runs for every four years? 

91,430 vote by mail ballots issued, and on October 29, only 27,248 had been returned ( and that includes the 1,789 “undeliverable” ballots). This information given in response to my questions sent via Supervisor Kirk.  That was only about a week and a half before Election Day. 

I hope Grubbs is right – I hope there’s a landslide of ballots coming in tomorrow. Otherwise, a person has to ask herself – why don’t Butte County  voters come to the polls?