Party Foul: California AD 51 Delegate Election Partly Vacated

The so-called left coast?


On February 2, 2019 Assembly District Election Meeting (ADEM) delegate candidate and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee member Dr. Ron Birnbaum filed a challenge due to the apparent corruption that had transpired at the California ADEM 51 election meeting on January 26, 2019.

On March 27, 2019 the California Democratic Party Compliance Review Commission (CRC) concluded their investigation ordering a new election. According to their report, “The CRC upholds the challenge and confirms the election of the ADEM’s first-place self-identified female (Jamie Tijerina) and the top three other than self-identified females (Mike Fong, Juan Carlos Cruz, and Vicente Gonzalez-Reyes) as delegates to the State Party Convention. The CRC vacates all other results for both Delegates to the State Party Convention and Representative to the Executive Board and orders a new election be conducted at the earliest time possible consistent with proper notice, with every effort for it to occur by May 18, 2019.”

When I originally reported on these proceedings the extent of the problem had not yet been made clear. But in the weeks that followed, it came to light that the election outcome had been undeniably affected. Jeanine Rohn, another of the delegate candidates, made several trips to Sacramento to personally review the sign-in sheets.  Indeed it was her initial effort that lead to the broader investigation by the Compliance Review Commission. She initially found 14 voters that lived outside of the district, a handful that stated no address whatsoever, as well as other issues. In all, her initial problematic vote total was 59. When the Compliance Review Commission examined her claims, they unearthed many more. They discovered 97 invalid sign-ins.

According to the Compliance Review Commission’s official report on the AD51 sign-in sheets, there were 12 participants who did not provide a signature, 27 that provided no street address, 18 that lived outside of the District, and 3 that gave unverifiable addresses. This means that 97 ineligible votes were cast in the election.

One highlight of the Compliance Review Commission report is this gem: “Mr. Birnbaum alleged that the ‘Convening authorities knowingly allowed paid preferential access to venue facilities for one specific group of candidates.’ Photos and testimony provided by Ms. Horton and Mr. Ramos refute this allegation. Ms. Horton spoke with the facility director and made her aware of the first-come, first-serve basis to uphold fairness for all candidates.”

What Patti Horton? I secured video of the facilities manager stating the opposite as previously reported in my original expose. Anna Aaranjo states in the video that the Teamsters rented the entire field adjacent to the building. And the only voters who were given access to that field were the ones with the white tickets who had voted for the elected official’s slate.  

Additionally a looming question remains-  why didn’t the Compliance Review Commission (CRC) vacate the entire election? Why are the top four remaining? Well, according to the report, that is based on some simplistic and, in my opinion, not entirely sound logic.  The report states, “The CRC finds that the ballots cast by the 97 ineligible voters could be enough to affect 10 of the ADEM winners (6 self-identified female/4 other than self-identified female) and the representative to the Executive Board. The difference between the second-place female and fourteenth-place female was 79 votes. The difference between the fourth-place non-female and fourteenth-place non-female was 84 votes. The difference between the first-place and second-place candidates in the Executive Board election was 37 votes.”

The Compliance Review Commission is assuming something that we cannot be certain of- that all 97 ineligible votes went to the top 7 winners. Moreover, it’s improbable that the ineligible votes helped all top winners equally. There are too many other possible outcomes and its unknowable which of the ballots casts belong to the 97 ineligible voters.

Dr. Birnbaum said “I believe the CRC was trying to ask the question ‘given the number of ineligible voters, is it the case that some winning candidates would with mathematical certainty and not merely probabilistically have won election even if they had derived maximal benefit from ineligible votes?’  But the answer to this is no. Because the thresholds for mathematically certain victory is greater than the critical numbers in these races.”

For this reason the wise course would be to simply vacate the entire election. Yet the California Democratic Party has dug its heals in. An appeal was filed and denied. The new election is scheduled for April 27th, 2019.

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Actress. MA in Philosophy. Host of the District 34 podcast.