@THE GUSS REPORT-The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s building in the obscure, semi-suburban City of Norwalk is the typical governmental monolith with its weekday beehive of activity for mundane government records and licenses, and a flow of people dressed up to get married there.
A few late nights each year or so, law enforcement vehicles drive up with piles of ballots County residents cast in elections because it is also the hub of voter registrations, candidate filings, polling place arrangements and ballot counting.
It is a whole lot of paper-pushing which, outside of law enforcement, make it ground zero for maintaining basic order and stability in Los Angeles County.
The job of running these functions belongs to Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan who, at a 2017 salary of $280,260 (and a total annual benefits package of $398,567), is responsible for the integrity of our elections.
On Tuesday, during LA’s vote in the California primary, which included local elections and could impact the balance in Congress’s House of Representatives, there were major problems as an estimated 188,522 LA County registered voters learned that their names were not listed when they went to their polling places. While substitute “provisional” ballots should have been provided (and in many cases were) to every eligible voter, Logan told the media in primary night interviews that the complication was due to “a printing problem.”
The big question is on what day and time did Logan know about the printing problem?
If it was any time prior to Tuesday, where was the emergency press conference letting every registered voter know what to do if they went to vote but found their name eliminated from the voter rolls?
Also, Logan needs to explain whether there is any check and balance system to ensure voter rolls are accurate and at their proper polling location, or if there isn’t, then why.
(As I showed in this column last year, Logan also has absolutely no screening process for his paid poll workers and refused to explain why.)
When I raised some of these issues last year with Sheila Kuehl, current Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (whose name was on Tuesday’s ballot), she publicly said to contact her office for comment, but in private, her representative quickly and quietly said “no comment.”
So back to Dean Logan…
He needs to show not only whenhe determined there was a major problem, but howsince our polling places are spread among 88 cities and unincorporated areas across 4,751 square miles. Was it really just a printing problem or a systemic one without safeguards for accuracy and integrity?
It seems that whatever the answers, before Tuesday or during the chaotic primary day, none will reflect well on him. Was this just one of those unpredictable incidents, or are the problems at the LA County Registrar-Recorder far worse than the public knows?
(An email to Logan’s media representatives asking what Logan knew and when he knew it was not returned by deadline.)
As many humorous internet memes say, he had one job.
The question is whether Dean Logan should keep his.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Verifiable tips and story ideas can be sent to him at [email protected]. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.