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Slocum’s got some words for Bowen’s wordsmith

By rgordon
Friday, June 1st, 2007 at 4:30 pm in Uncategorized.

Chief Elections Officer Warren Slocum apparently wasn’t too tickled to read what Nicole Winger, Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s spokeswoman, had to say in a story we reported Thursday.

In it, we highlighted some of the concerns that Slocum has around Bowen’s top-to-bottom review of voting systems in the state, particularly its tight time frame. The review has yet to get started and is supposed to be completed by the end of July, with a public comment period to follow. Slocum worries it could create an “impossible” situation for county registrars if significant changes are required afterwards. All changes would have to be implemented by the February presidential primary.

Slocum was so, um, moved by Winger’s statements that he wrote her a letter today and shared it with us.

Slocum pointed to this section of the story in particular:

A few of Slocum’s questions related to public accessibility of documents — such as test protocols and non-disclosure agreements signed by reviewers — and whether background checks of review team members were conducted.

“Anything that is a public record will be made available,” Winger said.

“We have shared all of this information with Mr. Slocum and the other counties as well,” Winger added, noting her surprise at some of Slocum’s questions. “We look forward to reiterating the information to Mr. Slocum directly.”

“These statements imply that your office has provided to me and other registrars in the state in regards to the top-to-bottom review the available test protocols, non-disclosure agreements signed by reviewers and whether background checks of review team members were conducted. This is certainly not true. To date, none of this information has been made public nor is there a timeline for such disclosure. I continue to be concerned with proper documentation, transparency, and the available means for experienced, expert elections professionals to have input into this ‘independent’ review,” Slocum wrote in his letter to Winger.

“I also continue to have concerns about the schedule and how this project is unfolding,” Slocum continued, highlighting excerpts from an email from the Los Angeles County registrar sent to a listserv for California elections officials. (L.A. County has a unique voting system housed on mainframes that will require on-site testing, the only system like it in the state. All other systems will be tested at facilities in Sacramento on equipment provided by the manufacturers.)

In the email – which Slocum quotes in the letter – Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Conny McCormack states that she received word at 9 p.m. Wednesday from Lowell Finley, deputy secretary for the elections division, that a pile of documents had to be returned to the state via FedEx the very next day. McCormack called the timeframe “ludicrous and an insult,” especially given that a first draft of a non-disclosure agreement took eight weeks for the state to write, she said. A second draft took two and a half weeks and was delivered 11 working days after it was promised, she said.

“Certainly, if all questions raised by registrars had been answered, I believe the testing process would have commenced by now,” Slocum continued in his letter. “And, had anyone from the secretary’s office communicated directly with me regarding my concerns, I wouldn’t have outstanding questions.

“I have always been and will remain a strong supporter for the need to instill voter confidence in the democratic process, and to find a path where all parties of interest can work together for the best possible solution. I do, however, have concerns when a representative of the secretary of state implies that their office has already shared requested information with me when this is absolutely untrue,” Slocum continued.

“My point is not to be argumentative,” Slocum concluded. “The questions are serious and deserve answers – answers I have not received to date.”

Previously: Bowen’s voting audit unclear or misinterpreted?

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2 Responses to “Slocum’s got some words for Bowen’s wordsmith”

  1. Michael G. Stogner Says:

    What has been the response to Warren Slocum’s assertions that Nicole Winger, Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s spokeswoman, had lied in her letter.

    Warren Slocum is doing his best to inform the public that Nicole Winger has knowingly and willfully has made false statements on behalf of Secretary of State Debra Bowin.

    Thank You Warren.

  2. peg collier Says:

    I am a local political consultant who works extensively with voter files from most of our
    53 counties. As Registrar of Voters go – Slocum is, in my opinion, one of the best – if not
    the best – in the state. If he has concerns I urge that state officials quit criticizing and
    start listening to them.

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