Monday, April 16, 2007

Cuyahoga County Ohio Elections Official Michael Vu Just Hired On In San Diego, California

Heads up repost.
Paul, You have my vote! :P

San Diego County hires Vu as assistant registrar

By: GIG CONAUGHTON - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County officials said Wednesday that they had hired former Cuyahoga County, Ohio elections Chief Michael Vu as assistant registrar of voters.

Vu, 30, resigned as executive director of Cuyahoga County's elections board in February after 3 1/2 years.

San Diego County officials declined to make Vu available for an interview Wednesday. However, Vu was quoted in previous interviews as saying it was his decision to resign, based upon his belief that the Cuyahoga board wanted new leadership.

Vu was praised by elections board officials in Ohio as successfully overseeing election changes that led to a November 2006 general election that had few problems.

But Vu also gained national notoriety, and the characterization of "embattled," as the Ohio county -- a "swing state" in national elections -- struggled with a switch to electronic voting, and two elections workers were convicted for "rigging" a 2004 elections recount.

Mikel Haas, who was San Diego County's registrar of voters until being promoted last month to become the county's director of community services, said Wednesday that the county immediately moved to contact Vu when he became available and felt lucky to hire him.

Haas said that Vu was specifically hired to be assistant registrar, and that county officials were still searching for a permanent registrar. Retired Riverside County Registrar Mischelle Townsend was named San Diego County's interim director last week.

The county had been without an assistant registrar for many months.

"We needed an assistant registrar," Haas said, "and to get someone with this kind of experience in that size of jurisdiction (nearly 1 million voters), with both punch card ballots and moving to electronic voting -- he was a natural."

Haas said that Vu would be paid $130,000 a year.

The news of Vu's hiring drew immediate disapproval and bewilderment from a small number of critics who have sharply criticized San Diego County's handling of recent elections and its own switch to electronic "touch-screen" computers.

"I'm disappointed, I think San Diego voters deserve better than this," Carlsbad attorney Ken Simpkins said.

Simpkins unsuccessfully sued Haas, as county registrar, over how to count paper ballots, and to force the county to stock enough paper ballots at polling places to cover the county's 1.3 million voters in November.

"I don't know why Mr. Vu resigned, but like I said, San Diego voters deserve better," Simpkins said. "Out of all the qualified people it's surprising that they end up choosing somebody with the reputation that (Vu's) got."

Haas said Vu resigned for personal reasons and had family living on the West Coast.

He said Vu had been an elections officer for a decade, working in Salt Lake City, Utah, before taking over in Cuyahoga County.

Cuyahoga County was a "battleground" for elections officials because it was a swing state and routinely came under national scrutiny that magnified any problems that occurred, Haas said.

"(Vu) worked under a crucible there," Haas said. "Try being an election official in the largest county in a swing state during a presidential election. He was certainly battle-tested."

Among the problems that gained national notoriety during Vu's Ohio tenure, a federal judge in Cleveland in November's elections ordered 16 Cuyahoga County polling stations to stay open 90 minutes after the 7:30 p.m. closing time because of voting machine problems and long wait lines for voters -- up to 14 hours. In January, a court convicted two elections workers of illegally rigging the 2004 presidential election recount so they could avoid a more complete review of votes.

Vu defended the workers, saying they had followed longtime procedures and done nothing wrong.

-- Contact staff writer Gig Conaughton at (760) 739-6696 or

More on Vu...

Cuyahoga County Ohio elections official Michael Vu Just Hired on in San Diego, California
(& Comparing voter fraud with election fraud)

Given that presidential elections, at least, involve the question of control of trillions of federal dollars, the world's sole military superpower, and the world's richest country -- the United States of America -- I am unable to blind myself to the fact that there could hardly be any higher material incentive to cheat in elections than this.

While it remains absurd to believe that illegal voting (which normally nets one lousy vote) is worth a potential 5 or more year felony sentence for "voter fraud", it is infinitely more believable that those motivated by the above highest stakes in the world would contact insiders in elections or become insiders in elections who can deliver the only result that counts: the election result.

The whole DOJ "voter fraud" investigation thing is an exercise in misdirection, finding "no organized effort" to skew elections, but focusing only on the risks coming from outsiders (citizens).

How many people know that two elections officials in Ohio were recently convicted on felony counts for rigging the 2004 presidential recount? They were sentenced not to 5 years but to 18 months for rigging the entire election recount to come out OK. As shown in this case, conflicts of interest for elections officials abound and include the desire to protect their reputation (having signed off on the first count) and the desire to avoid working, especially through Thanksgiving (the two proven motives in Cuyahoga County, OH). That's a Democratic county that could not be trusted to recount Democratic votes that could only benefit the Democrat, Kerry. CYA trumps partisanship, big time.

Now elections official Michael Vu, (formerly head in Cuyahoga County) has just been hired on by San Diego County. After two felony convictions, and the removal of his entire elections board by the Ohio Secretary of State on grounds of malfeasance generally, this elections official insider has this to say about the two convicted election-rigging felons from our 2004 presidential election: " Vu defended the workers, saying they had followed longtime procedures and done nothing wrong."

These were not "workers" they were officials, and the judge who presided specifically said he believes there was a conspiracy that went further. Unlike robbing a bank, where one does not get to be a bank official or set future bank vault security policy, after successfully stealing an election, one does or can get to be an elections official or gets to set future elections "security" policy. In these security policies, none give substantial attention to or identifies the obvious fact that insiders, i.e. elections officials, are the #1 risk. Even a private attorney would have to disclose such conflicts to their clients in writing. But it's hard to get this reality into news coverage.

Is it too much to expect all of us, even the media, to be watchdogs, sentinels or defenders of representative democracy? At least a minority of them? Any such sentinel has to be able to be clear-eyed about all of the risks, and has to investigate all such risks even if "it's probably nothing, just the cat...".

Instead, officials who preside over felonious presidential recounts and forced from office, defend the felons instead of democracy and are called "battle tested" and then pitied for having to suffer so much scrutiny in a battleground state, according to outgoing Registrar Mikel Haas quoted in the North County Times (link above).

If you look into the Ohio convictions, these mid-level officials spent two entire days rigging the presidential recount so that it would come out OK. Vu denies knowledge, said they "followed longtime procedures and [did] nothing wrong." Are elections officials even exempt from even recognizing the force of criminal convictions?

I will be looking with great curiosity to see which citizens, bloggers and others pick up this mainstream media story in the San Diego area, and its connection to Ohio 2004, and the overriding importance of defending democracy from insiders even more than from outsiders. Everyone votes, so everyone takes sides in elections and ultimately nobody can be trusted. Checks and balances are a form of institutionalized distrust. Trust in results can only be achieved by lots of public eyeballs on the process, which in turn can only be achieved when the public oversight eliminated by computerized electronic voting is fully restored.

Paul Lehto
Attorney at Law
OK to forward or blog this email with all attribution preserved.

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R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing
Speaking on Autonomy