The election that spawned malfunctions and long lines during Los Angeles County’s 2020 primary was even more chaotic and poorly planned than previously indicated, according to an unpublished consultants’ report obtained by POLITICO. The 390-page document by Slalom Consulting describes a beleaguered election department that missed key deadlines, failed to properly manage a vendor that supplied faulty equipment, and hired inexperienced call center staff to help election workers deal with the breakdowns. The report holds implications for other local governments as they increasingly adopt the same kinds of election changes implemented last year in Los Angeles County, one of the nation’s most populous voting jurisdictions. Those include an expansion of early voting; a switch from neighborhood precincts to vote centers where anyone registered in the county can cast ballots; and the use of electronic devices instead of paper “poll books” to verify voters’ eligibility. The county managed these changes ineffectively, the consultants wrote, leaving it unprepared to respond to technical problems. Among them were troubles with the electronic poll books, which have also caused confusion and hourslong waits in places such as Georgia, Philadelphia, North Carolina and South Dakota. Other jurisdictions should take heed, one elections expert said in a text message. “The spectacular failure of LA’s primary shows just how brittle the vote center model actually is, and how easily elections dependent on vote centers can be crippled by malfunctioning e-pollbooks,” said Susan Greenhalgh, senior adviser on election security for the election integrity group Free Speech for People.
National: Key local election officials in battleground states still face threats over a year after 2020 election | Adam Brewster/CBS
The year after a presidential election is normally slow for Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. There are local elections to administer, but the quieter schedule gives her a chance to start planning for the next big election year, organizing records and working on professional development. But 2021 wasn’t a traditional post-presidential election year. She and her colleagues have been dealing with new election law proposals in the Wisconsin Legislature and responding to mountains of record requests. And then there are also the threats that began after the 2020 election and kept coming, even after Joe Biden took the oath of office. “I have been told that I deserve to be hung in a public square,” Woodall-Vogg said. “I received a letter to my home calling me a traitorous c***.” At about 4 a.m. on the day after the election, the results from Milwaukee’s absentee votes catapulted then-candidate Joe Biden into the lead over former President Donald Trump in Wisconsin. Up until that hour, Mr. Biden was trailing Trump by about 107,000 votes. Like Woodall-Vogg, election workers around the country faced threats and pressure in the weeks following the November election, leading up to the attack at the Capitol on January 6, and continued afterward.