Oddities continue in Vernon election

A few weeks ago I wrote about some of the issues that had arisen in the small municipality of Vernon, California — in Los Angeles County. After much pressure, Vernon did have their first contested election in decades earlier this week, but two oddities have become apparent in the days after the election.

The first oddity was discussed in a story in this morning’s Los Angeles Times. It turns out that the Vernon city clerk has decided to not count any ballots, pending the outcome of existing litigation. This is a very odd turn of events, as clerks in California routinely work to count ballots immediately following any election.

The second oddity involves how the balloting was done, and here is more from another story in the Los Angeles Times:

The challengers’ lawyer, Albert Robles, said there was evidence that the election will be fraudulent and said it could not be fair as long as Vernon City Clerk Bruce Malkenhorst Jr. counted the ballots.

Robles pulled out a ballot envelope and alleged that the way it was sent, and the way the city was asking for it to be mailed, made it likely that balloting would not be secret.

The envelope in which the ballot was sent had a window in the back that showed the ballot number ascribed to each resident voter. There were no instructions to tear out the stub with the identifying ballot number before mailing it back.

Thus the possibility arises for voter intimidation and coercion, if ballots have identifying information on them.