Friday, September 16, 2016

Voter Speaks Up about ROV and Recount Debable

September 13, 2016

To: Santa Clara Board of Supervisors
Re:  Serious errors/flaws uncovered during the automatic recount of the San Jose City Council District 4 election

Dear Supervisors,

As a concerned voter of Santa Clara county and on my own behalf, I’ve written many comments about the sloppy operation Registrar of Voters (ROV), especially in the ballot duplication aspect, which raises serious doubts about the outcome of the San Jose City Council District 4 race, an extremely tight race with only 28 votes between the candidates, out of 17,350 votes for the candidates.

It does not matter to me who wins or loses.  It matters to me a great deal that we have an election system whose work and published results we can trust.  Complaints about the ROV have been raised in the past, but it was not until this recount that we have concrete data to substantiate our concerns.

The recount narrowed the winner’s lead from 28 before to 12 after the recount.  The ROV is now trying to say that they need to add in the 60 writein votes, which bring the winner’s lead to 36 votes before the recount.  In that case, the recount corrected the winner’s lead from 36 to 12, a whopping 67% correction. In other words, the original election results certified by the ROV were 67% inaccurate.

There are still many unresolved issues.  A precinctbyprecinct analysis shows over 200 votes are missing between the original count and the automatic recount.  The ROV offers no explanation for these missing votes.  Instead, the ROV try to distort the number of ballots counted during the automatic recount, claiming in its report to the Board that the recount encompassed 20,334 ballots when it only counted 20,079 ballots (as proven by tally sheets and ROV’s own report).  There are 10 illegal votes because 5 people doublevoted.  

Dozens of original ballots and duplicated ballots are missing. The most serious violation is in the ballot duplicating process, which include ballots being duplicated twice giving one candidate unfair lead, staff initialing for one another or not initialing at all, altering and forging of initials, even during the employee’s absence.  About 97% of the 280 challenges logged in during the recount were related to staff initials.

Below, I am providing some examples of the original and duplicated ballots for your review. Of most concerns are the following:

a ballot where the original has different markings in different ink (like someone just quickly connected the arrow for Lan Diep before duplicating the ballot

ballots were duplicated without clear marks or notes as to why they needed be duplicated

ballots where staff initials were altered
- we witnessed (during the recount) an ROV staff member who was very concerned  hen she found her initials but not in her handwriting.

For these reasons, we urge the Board of Supervisors to not accept the ROV’s report because it contains wrong information (claiming that the recount counted 20,334 ballots when it only counted 20,079 ballots).  We also urge the Board to nullify the certification of the election results and the outcome of District 4 until after the Board fully investigates ROV’s wrongdoings.  And please keep the recount because it helps make ROV accountable to the county, and the voters.

Thank you for your leadership in ensuring that we have a fair, honest, transparent, efficient and accurate election system.

Sincerely yours,

Quyen Vuong

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

ROV Needs Overhaul

Recent Letter to County Board of Supervisors by Councilmember Manh Nguyen.

August 10, 2016
Honorable Dave Cortese & 
Members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
70 West Hedding Street, East Wing / 10th floor
San Jose, CA 95110

Re: Errors and Omissions in connection with June 7, 2016 Fourth District
San Jose City Council Election and Recounts

Dear Mr. President and Members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, 

Over the course of the past several weeks -- during the post-election canvass, the automatic recount required by the Board of Supervisors, and the voter-requested recount --and based on detailed personal observation, extensive document review, and personal interviews, it has become clear that numerous critical legal procedures and safeguards designed to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the election have not been followed by the office of Registrar of Voters (See the report below.) We have concluded that these violations are so significant - both in quality and quantity and cast such serious doubt on the outcome of the election, that the intent of the majority of the Fourth District's voters can not be accurately ascertained. Consequently, the Fourth District election was fatally flawed.

In view of the many problems associated with the recent election, especially when placed in context with the well-documented problems over the last several election cycles, we request that Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, conduct an audit the office of the ROV to right the wrong, to correct all misconducts of the ROV's officials and/or employees and above all to ensure that the best interests of Santa Clara county citizens are being served.

Manh Nguyen 
San Jose City Council Member District-4

Comeuppance - Phat Bui Violates FPPC Campaign Law

Garden Grove City Councilman Phat Bui is not a happy camper now a day.   His barrage of negative campaign against Supervisor Andrew Do with the whole purpose of being a spoiler in the recent June primary is now coming back and haunt him.

Karma is against him this year and it always happen in three.

First, he spent more than $200,000 of his own money on a dirty negative campaign to run against a well-liked candidate in the Vietnamese-American community.   He lost in a landslide and in the process was exposed to be a charlatan.  During the campaign, to bolster his image, he falsely claimed to have three college degrees.   In reality, he was a college drop-out.    It turn out, he also lied on his contract bid about him having a college degree.

And he is a member of Orange County Boy Scouts of America Council.

Second, he just got slapped with a fine by the FPPC for violating campaign filing law.  This is ironic for he personally  filed three complaints to the FPPC against Andrew Do for violating campaign law.

What will karma bring next?

Side Note:  His dream of becoming mayor is in doubt this year.  This is a wide open race with the incumbent not running.  Incumbent Mayor Bao Nguyen is stuck in a no-win situation with his unexpected second place finish behind Lou Correa for the congressional race.  Nguyen is  far behind in the poll but he cannot pull out of the race now to run for his mayoral seat.

 It could have been his if he did not mess up his political career with his run against Andrew Do.   

Manh Nguyen Suing Lan Diep?

In a bizarre scenario of a dramatic city council election for San Jose City D4,  the incumbent Manh Nguyen is also suing the Council-elect Lan Diep.    He recently has filed a lawsuit against the ROV.

 Whatever the case may be, Manh Nguyen has lost public support for him as a councilman in the Vietnamese-American community.  

As some voters in D4 have vocally let him know,  he is a sore loser.   And apparently, he is too bitter to understand when to quit.  

 Karma is against him and it always happens in three. 

First, his radio show was shut down due to his political battle against Lan Diep during the campaign.  As far as the owner of the radio station was concerned, he violated FCC rules and they wanted him to make changes to ensure FCC guidelines are followed. Of course, he refused and decided to stick it to the owner by not paying his bills.    

Second, his bitter loss in an election that he should have won by a landslide.   His supporters are scratching their heads with his behavior during the recount and the lawsuit.

What will karma bring next?  

Here is post from Lan Diep's Facebook-

Well. I've been served. Manh Nguyen is suing me - me! - because he wants a court to 1) Set aside my victory (and the will of the voters); 2) Declare him the winner; 3) Award him the costs of his lawsuit, and 4) Give him any other relief deemed appropriate.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Endorsements for Ash Kalra

Press Release from Ash Kalra's Campaign Headquarters

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren Throws Her Support
in for Ash Kalra for Assembly

San Jose, CA — Today, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren declared her support for Ash Kalra in the open seat race for the Assembly in District 27. As the only Congressional member in this district, Zoe’s support holds enormous weight in this contentious race.

" I am proud to endorse Ash Kalra for California State Assembly and I urge you to join me in supporting him. Over the years, when I’ve advocated for Human Rights, Ash was there with me. When we fought for immigration reform, Ash was there. When we fought for housing opportunities so our sons and daughters could live in the communities they grew up in, Ash was a leader.  When it came to improving education, Ash stepped forward.  In short, Ash Kalra has been a stand out leader while serving on the City Council. He is smart, articulate and will be an effective leader in Sacramento. I believe he will represent our community instead of special interests.  In my experience with him, he is honest, committed to the public good and a hard worker. Voters have a rare opportunity to select this outstanding individual to represent them in the California Legislature," said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.

The campaign received additional good news as the lone Republican in the June Primary, ESUHSD Trustee Van Le, formally endorsed Ash Kalra, joining two other Primary opponents, Democrats ARUSD Trustee Esau Herrera and community activist Cong T. Do.

“I am so grateful to Congresswoman Lofgren for her support in this race and for the years of leadership she has shown in this district. She is a national leader on pushing comprehensive immigration reform and has led our California Congressional delegation with honor,” commented Ash Kalra, “I am further humbled to receive the support of three of my former opponents. They are all outstanding community leaders and have proven their strong support from the community by garnering over 20,000 votes accounting for over 26% of ballots cast. Their confidence in my ability to represent our city well in Sacramento is a great source of pride as we continue our movement towards Election Day."

Zoe Lofgren has represented San Jose in the United State Congress since 1995. As the Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and the highest-ranking Democrat and former chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, Lofgren is recognized as a leader within the party and a champion for immigrants’ rights in San Jose. She is the only Congressional Member representing Assembly District 27.

In 2008, Ash Kalra was elected to the San Jose City Council. Ash is one of two candidates in the open seat race for California State Assembly that will be vacated by termed-out Assemblyperson Nora Campos. For a full list of organizations and individuals who have endorsed Ash Kalra, please visit

# # #

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Why Manh Nguyen Decided to Sue the ROV

After 11 days into the second recount,  Councilmember Manh Nguyen decided that he had enough and filed a lawsuit to overturn the election and have a redo in November.  He is now trailing Lan Diep by 12 votes.

His reason for the lawsuit is  " Voter Disenfranchisement".   According to the lawsuit, there were many procedural errors and omissions made by the Santa Clara County ROV that the voter intent might not be honored.

Here are some of the glaring facts that were observed during the recount.

1.  There was a loss of 255 votes in District 4 from the original machine count to the manual recount (as reported on Thu 7/14/16).  In the original count, the total votes counted by machine was 20,334 (Manh 8661, Lan 8689).  In the automatic recount, the total votes counted by hand was 20,079 (Manh 8669, Lan 8683).  The tally sheets of the recount confirmed that the total ballots counted was 20,079. 

2.  Over 300 ballots were duplicated. The duplicate ballot was made from the original ballot since it could not be read by machine.  

During the recount, the ROV staff chose not to follow their own  ballot duplication procedure.   The staff did not give an explanation why they did not follow their own protocol. 

 ROV staff was supposed to work in teams of 2, where 1 person would read off the original ballot, and the other person would mark the duplicate ballots. They were supposed to cross-check each other’s work, and each is to sign his/her initial on both the original and duplicate ballots.  ROV staff did not cross-check each other’s work, and, in almost 100% of the cases, one person initialed for both on the original, and the other person initialed for both on the duplicate.  In at least one case, the same person signed both initials on both original and duplicate ballots.  In at least one case, there was no initial, simply the stamp and the date.

Since the ROV was careless about generating the duplicate ballots by not following procedure, series of comical errors were bound to happen.  The joke of course is at the voter intent's expense.

 3.   26 duplicated ballots are missing.  ROV refused to use the originals, saying that the missing duplicates are already counted and included with other ballots.   But the main reason, staff forgot to stamp duplicates so they could not be identified. 

4.  34 original ballots were missing and only their duplicates were available.    There was no way to ascertain the validity and accuracy of the duplicates; but the ROV still insisted on relying the duplicates.

5.  On Fri 7/15/16, ROV declared the automatic recount done and issued an official statement with Manh Nguyen trailing Lan Diep by 14 votes. 

A question was brought up to the ROV about why the tally did not add up in precinct 1416.   Matt Moreles, Assistant Registrar, did not know about this irregularity.   

 On Mon 7/18/16, Moreles announced that staff found a stack of 37 votes left in the bin.  They forgot to separate them from the A cards; hence they did not count them.  Before this finding,  Moreles insisted repeadly that these 37 ballots were counted by machine before. 

With the new ballots, Manh Nguyen trailed Lan Diep by 12 votes.

Side note:   Even after these ballots were found and counted, Precinct 1416 still had a loss of 4 ballots.  The entire D4 still lost 218 ballots. 

4.  There were a net loss of votes in 33 out of 43 precincts.   The ROV could not provide any reasons why or examples of how ballots could be missing.   Their standard answer was this is the norm of the recount.   This is tenuous claim at best since the ROV has not done a recount for ages and their inexperience showed again and again with their many mistakes.  

The recount process has exposed many procedural flaws at the ROV.  The voters should also be concerned at the nonchalant attitude of the ROV toward the voter intent.   During this ordeal,  a number of voters have expressed their worry whether their vote matter, especially in a close election.  

The ROV needs to regain the voter's confidence because at the end of the day, the loser in the election is the voters themselves when an office in charge of protecting the integrity of the voter intent is not being held accountable for their actions. 


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Manh Nguyen To Proceed with Lawsuit?

Rumor is flying that San Jose City Councilmember Manh Nguyen has decided to go forward with a lawsuit to overturn the D4 city council election.   At least this is what he is expected to tell the City Council as his reason to ask them not to certify the election today.

What is the current status of the second recount?  Nguyen is still behind by 12 votes.  He is asking ROV to review all disqualified ballots.  After 10 days of recount at a rate of $2,500 a day, we know that Nguyen has money at his disposal.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Manh Nguyen and His Recount Options

Five days into the voter-initiated recount, incumbent Councilmember Manh Nguyen still trails the challenger Lan Diep by the same tally - 12.

His various challenges on the absentee ballots so far were not successful.   He is most likely to again challenge the duplicate ballots (ballot that was manually duplicated from the damaged original ballot).   And then there are  the provisional ballots that he still want to contest again.   He had challenged them unsuccessfully in the first recount.

If all else fails,  he can opt for a lawsuit to have this election invalid on technical reasons, e.g, missing ballots, disqualified ballots, or other procedural mistakes that the ROV is struggling through.

Nguyen is famous or infamous (depending if you are his foe or friend) for his tenacity.   The only thing that will stop him from a lawsuit if the second recount does not overturn the election  is money. He will not be able to see beyond the fact that the public backlash on such a lawsuit will be so great even if he is successful with the lawsuit to have the election invalid.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Vietnamese-American Community Supports Ash Kalra

Last Saturday, people from the Vietnamese-American community in San Jose and well known community leaders gathered at Seven Tree Community Center to show support for Ash Kalra  and his state assembly race.   His opponent in November is Madison Nguyen.

In the June primary, Kalra came in second with 19.8%, followed by Van Le at 14.70%, Andres Quintero at 13.7% and Cong Do at 6.1%.   The other two Hispanic candidates combined for 10.40%.  Nguyen distanced all candidates with 34.35%.

At the picnic, both Van Le and Cong Do showed up to rally the crowd along with many prominent members of  Viet Voters, VACNORCAL, Little Saigon Foundation, etc...   Also presence were Assemblymember Kansen Chu and his wife.

Kalra also receives support from Councilmembers Tam Nguyen and Manh Nguyen.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lan Diep Won by 14 Votes After Recount

After the automatic recount,  Lan Diep now won by 14 votes instead of 36 over Manh Nguyen. However,  Nguyen's supporter has asked for a voter-initiated recount.   He is hoping that with another recount, he still can turn the tide.

The change in vote after the manual tally is mainly due to the under vote error by the counting machine.    These are ballots that neither were votes for Nguyen nor Diep.  However, the machine counted by mistake as either for Nguyen or Diep.

During this recount, Nguyen challenged 73 ballots and he was only granted 2 challenges, the rest were deemed not legitimate.

A year ago,  Diep lost to Nguyen by 13 votes.  There was no automatic recount rule then and he did not ask for a recount.

Note:  After the press release by ROV on July 15, 2016  after their official recount declaring Lan Diep won by 14 votes, they changed the number to 12 votes  on July 18, 2016.   The reason is they found another 37 ballots that somehow were misplaced.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Manh Nguyen and His Recount Strategy

With just two days into the recount process, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters has done such a sound job that by tomorrow, they expect to wrap up the recount and issue a final result.

But in a twist of intrigue, before the closing of the day, a voter in D4 named Nam Truong, sent in a request to have a voter-initiated recount on behalf of Manh Nguyen.   This prompted Lan Diep to tweet

. won't do anything himself. E.g. order a recount, file an ethics complaint, serve constituents, etc.

Manh Nguyen of course is being counseled by an election lawyer from LA.   So he makes sure he is getting his money worth.

The voter-initiated recount is being paid by whoever requested it.  Manh Nguyen is hoping  to be able to have additional challenge options with the voter-initiated recount, probably to rechallenge a number of ballots that were disqualified in the first place.   The cost is about  $2,000 a day similar to  what Orange County Registrar of Voters was charging last year.  

Lan Diep might not want to be too confident with this second recount.   This is where experience in election law comes in play.

Ballot Recount for D4 City Council Race

It took a day and a half for the ballot challenges by both sides to be either entered for further research, accepted or denied.   According to Lan Diep, he personally think that there were 2 ballots that could be for Manh.   But the ballots are being reviewed for clarification.

As of this afternoon, the actual counting has just began.  

Lan Diep entering the process with 36 vote lead.  The recount takes place manually  with one person calls out the vote, one observes and two people tally.  The two separate tallies recorded must be the same or the process has to start over. 

Councilmember Manh Nguyen took no chance and hired an election lawyer from LA.   He has a dozen people monitoring the recount.  Lan Nguyen, forever an underdog, is by himself,  with 2-3 supporters stopping by checking out the process.  

It will take about one week to complete the process.  The conventional wisdom is that unless the challenges are in Manh's favor, the manual recount will rarely see any ballot change.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Senator Jim Beall's Creek Clean Up

Senator Beall’s Los Gatos Creek Clean Up
Saturday, August 16th, 9 am - 11 am
Meet at Campbell Park between
Campbell Ave. & Gilman Ave.
Be part of the solution to pollution!

Join Senator Jim Beall for the Los Gatos
Creek Cleanup Day!

A creek runs through our neighborhoods.
Please help us take care of this precious resource.

This event is free and everyone is welcome -- join your neighbors, enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, meet friendly people, do something good for the environment. Dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy footwear and clothing. Trash bags, trash sticks, and gloves will be provided.
Weather permitting.
Registration: 8:45 am
Clean Up: 9 am—11 am


Friday, July 1, 2016

Manh Nguyen Feels Confident About The Recount

With all the ballots have now been reported for the D4 race, Lan Diep leads the incumbent Councilmember Manh Nguyen by 28 votes.  Before the provisional ballots were counted,  Diep was ahead by 36 votes.   The automatic recount will take place on July 11.   Nguyen feels confident that he can flip the tally to his favor.  His team thinks that there might be some chances with the provisional ballot.   In reality, that is his real hope.  Rarely a recount will change the result except in the provisional ballot.

Besides the potential upset of an incumbent that has the support of all major establishments and political powers,  the council race will also be known to have highest turn-out in a primary for D4.   With 17,350 ballots cast, the number is more than double the previous primary.

If Lan Diep wins in the end, the final laugh of course is with State Assemblyman Kansen Chu.  His sweet revenge against his long time antagonist former Mayor Chuck Reed and his protege, current Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Major Upset In the Making in District 4

With still 2,000 ballots left to count, incumbent City Councilmember Manh Nguyen is ahead  attorney Lan Diep by just 17 votes.   The trend was against him in the last two days.  On election night, he was ahead by 193 votes.

MANH NGUYEN7,19350.06%
LAN DIEP7,17649.94%

If Manh Nguyen lost, it would be one of the biggest upsets in San Jose City Council race history.  Never before, an incumbent with the endorsement of current Mayor and former Mayor including a number of seating City Councilmembers along with both Labor and Chamber is facing such a defeat.

One interesting note, a week before the election,  Assemblyman Kansen Chu threw his support to Lan Diep.   Chu of course is a well liked former councilmember of D4.  

Lan Diep lost to Manh Nguyen by 13 votes in last year primary.  It would be interesting to see if he can reciprocate the loss this year.

Just one note - The voter turn-out is unusually high for this primary, especially in D4.   Typical turn out has been around 8,000 ballots in the primary and 14,000 ballots in the general election.  This year, the primary will likely break a record of close to 17,000 ballots.

OC Election Results Two Days After

Completed Precincts: 226 of 226
Vote CountPercentage
LOU CORREA (DEM)25,15541.7%
BOB PETERSON (REP)8,78814.6%
BAO NGUYEN (DEM)8,33213.8%
JOE DUNN (DEM)7,63212.6%
LYNN SCHOTT (REP)5,2168.6%

County Supervisor 1st District
Completed Precincts: 198 of 198
Vote CountPercentage
* ANDREW DO21,70436.0%
PHAT BUI11,62219.3%
STEVE ROCCO5,7279.5%

Member, County Central Committee 72nd Assembly District - Republican
Number To Vote For: 6
Completed Precincts: 242 of 242
Vote CountPercentage
* MICHAEL E. GATES (REP)16,40514.6%
* ANDREW DO (REP)13,97612.5%
* KERMIT MARSH (REP)12,63011.3%
DEAN GROSE (REP)11,58010.3%
TYLER DIEP (REP)10,8729.7%
1 JOHN W. BRISCOE (REP)10,3269.2%
PHAT BUI (REP)8,9438.0%
2 JOHN BRISCOE (REP)7,5486.7

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Early Results from San Jose and Orange County

Some of the early results in San Jose City Council races

City Council District 4

City Council District 8


State Assembly D27 (San Jose)