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Simpich writes: "The Iowa Caucus is dead. Now it’s the Iowa Chaos. It's what happens when corporate Democrats don't want to see Bernie get the bounce on Election Night."

Bernie Sanders on the trail in Iowa greeting supporters on February 3, 2020. (photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)
Bernie Sanders on the trail in Iowa greeting supporters on February 3, 2020. (photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Bernie Organizers: Vote Early! Stop the Iowa Chaos in California and Across the USA

By Bill Simpich, Reader Supported News

04 February 20

An open letter to all Bernie organizers calling for early voting as a central strategy.

t’s what happens when corporate Democrats don’t want to see Bernie get the bounce on Election Night.

Bernie got no bounce last night. The bounce he gets today will be too little and way too late. He’s still on a roll toward New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, but with reduced momentum.  

Momentum is the most important ingredient in an election. On behalf of grassroots Bernie organizers, I can say that we learned one valuable lesson. We hope that the statewide Bernie campaigns learned it too.

Vote early! Voting season began in California today! Californians have a month to vote in their presidential primary – but don’t wait. Vote right now.  

The Iowa chaos would not have happened if people had taken the time to do it right.

Vote by mail ballots are landing in mailboxes across California and across the country, right now – fill them out and mail them in, right away. In California and many other states, the early-returned vote-by-mail ballots are the very first ones to be reported by the counties on Election Night.   

In every state primary, we want to maximize the vote count for Bernie by 9 pm Pacific time that night. The East Coast newspapers go to press at midnight, and people turn off their TV sets. For all practical purposes, that election is now over. One or two candidates get the bounce. Others get bounced off the stage.

That didn’t happen in Iowa last night – and there’s a reason why.

Bernie’s troops had forced reforms on the Iowa Democratic Party after he lost the 2016 Iowa caucus by a razor-thin margin. This year, the plan was to count the votes using three different metrics. 

In the last few weeks, it was clear that Bernie was going to do well in Iowa and leave with great momentum.

With Bernie’s new bells and whistles in play, Iowa insiders knew that there would be chaos in the largely volunteer ranks.  

The people who run a statewide Democratic Party have incredible power – especially in comparison to the volunteer poll workers. They decide who gets the resources to run a tight ship, and who does not. At a minimum, these insiders knew that there was a crisis in the making. They also knew that when the crisis occurred, it would aid the Democratic establishment.  

The Iowa Democratic Party claims that it decided to institute quality controls to “ensure the integrity of each ballot.”  

Don’t insult our intelligence.

If they were one bit serious about wanting to do that, they would pay all election workers $15 an hour and provide twenty hours of paid training. You want skilled veterans performing at peak efficiency on the USA’s most important stage. There was a mobile app to tally the count, with a hotline provided as backup. When the mobile app had technical problems, the team behind the hotline did not get the job done.

Well into the evening, the Iowa Democratic Party announced: “We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and currency in the numbers we report.”

This is the corporate Dem equivalent of a labor slowdown. You want to shut down the airport? Follow every rule in the book.

Do you remember the TV show “The Outer Limits?” A disembodied voice would intone: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission…. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical.”

That’s what happened last night.

Voting early is how we stop it from happening again.

When we vote early in California, we make sure to vote by February 18 even though the primary is on March 3. The reason is why is simple. 

If you change or update your registration in any way after February 18, you will receive a provisional ballot.  

A provisional ballot means that your vote will not be counted for weeks after the election. You definitely will not be counted on Election Night.

After many years of battles, the corporate Dems in California finally pretended to give in and instituted “election-day registration.” But it comes with a catch – a provisional ballot.  

That game plan ensures that the votes of the young and the inexperienced will be greatly reduced on Election Night.

You want to make sure you get it right? Vote by February 18.

The independent voters in California make up 30% of the voting population. They are known as NPPs or No Party Preference in California – other states use other names, like the Undeclared in New Hampshire. They are in a particularly tight fix in our part of the world.  

Bernie is the champion of the independents. He has been an independent for most of his political life. He beat Hillary among the independent NPP voters in California by 40%.

But in the 2016 election, 45% of the NPP VBM voters said in a poll that they wanted to vote in the Democratic presidential primary but didn’t get a presidential ballot. Bernie lost hundreds of thousands of votes. It’s about to happen again.

In California, less than 10% of the NPPs that vote by mail have received a ballot that enables them to vote for President. That is because state law decrees that NPPs must take an extra step. To vote for Bernie, the NPPs must opt-in to the presidential election by contacting their county elections officials (that list is here) and requesting a “Democratic crossover ballot.” Not an easy thing for an independent voter to do.

If the NPPs that vote by mail request a “Democratic crossover ballot” after February 18 – pow! They will automatically get a provisional ballot.  

After February 18, the only way for them to avoid casting a provisional ballot is to go to the office of their county elections official with their vote-by-mail ballot and envelope, surrender it, and vote in person.

Even if you are not registered to vote by mail, it’s easy to go to the office of your county elections official and vote there! The address is right here – it’s the best place to vote in person. It’s one of the best places to avoid the touchscreens that are popping up at the vote centers and local polling places all over our state. There are almost never any lines. The poll workers are generally much better trained and can answer your questions. 

Did you know that in San Bernardino County – the seventh-largest electorate in California with almost a million registered voters – the poll workers have to work from 6 am to 9:30 pm with only two hours of training?   

We want well-trained and well-rested poll workers. If you love democracy, go out there and become a poll worker. Many elections have been saved from being stolen by conscientious poll workers who know the rules and won’t tolerate any stunts by unscrupulous people.

Tired and untrained poll workers routinely make terrible mistakes. Two war stories from 2016 are illustrative.  

Orange County polling stations routinely gave all NPP voters provisional ballots, until poll worker Ashley Beck blew the whistle.  

Santa Clara County poll workers were trained to not inform NPP voters of their right to request a presidential ballot, until my Berner colleague Ida Martinac and I linked arms with a poll worker and told the county we would see them in court if the policy didn’t change in about ten minutes.

If we can get the presidential ballot in the hands of most of these NPP voters, the pollsters tell us it will mean hundreds of thousands of votes for Bernie.

If you are a voter who loves Bernie, go the extra step and check your registration any day on Valentine Week coming up to Valentine’s Day – it’s a great way to make sure there are no mistakes. Then – that day – take a photo or video of your vote. Then – that day – tell everyone why you’re voting for Bernie and share these stories on social media! We are going to have one big Valentine’s Day for Bernie all over California. And many New Hampshire and South Carolina vote-by-mail voters and many of the Super Tuesday states with early voting can look at this guest list and join the party!

No matter where you live, there’s simply no reason not to vote as early as possible. We want to make room for the unexpected, like what happened in Iowa last night. You know those people who come to the party at the last possible minute? We want to make room for them too.

Bill Simpich is a California civil rights attorney and a member of Ballots for Bernie. For more, visit Ballots for Bernie on Facebook. We will be having Valentine’s Day events to get Bernie voters to cast their ballots that day throughout California. Join us!

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner
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