Beverly Hills City Council Suing County to Stop New VSAP Voting Machines

Incumbents say improved voting machine will be unfair to them

VSAP voting machine
VSAP voting machine

BEVERLY HILLS, CA ( 2020/2/7 – When the Los Angeles County’s voting machine was accepted by the California Secretary of State to use in the March 3rd, 2020, Presidential Primary Election, VSAP became the first publicly owned and designed voting system certified for use in the nation. The same day, the Beverly Hills City Council sued Los Angeles County to block the new electronic voting machines.

In the City’s lawsuit, the primary complaint is that the voting machine displays four candidates per screen. To determine the ballot order, the Secretary of State draws the names of candidates at random. Robin Rowe, that’s me, won that lottery. The rookie candidate is #1 on the ballot. With five candidates, that results in an incumbent being on screen two. He says that’s unfair and the Beverly Hills mayor strenuously agrees.

Two seats are being elected. The two incumbents were elected 10 years ago to a four-year term. They have managed to avoid two elections since, are clinging to power.

Suing the County less than 90 days before the election cannot result in the voting software being changed to meet the City’s demands. Before being authorized for use by any county in California, every voting system must pass the California Voting System Standards (CVSS) for state testing and certification.

CVSS is the most rigorous voting software standard in the country. Voting software must pass functional testing, source code review, accessibility and volume testing, and Red team security testing. Ninety days may be the fastest it would be possible to test and certify any voting software changes. Beverly Hills sued on January 23rd, two months out.

The City lawsuit appears futile to effect any change before the election. And, don’t ask for going back to using the previous electronic voting machines. That can’t happen because those were de-certified after being found to be hackable.

The City’s lawsuit doesn’t ask that paper ballots be provided to voters who want them. Perhaps because paper ballots are already provided to voters upon request at polling stations, to accommodate any handicapped voters who may prefer paper ballots for accessibility reasons.

My legal expert estimates the City will spend at least $50,000 on this lawsuit. That may seem a pittance next to the $16 million that the BHUSD has blown on lawsuits against the County, in a futile effort to stop the new Los Angeles subway. However, taxpayers should be aware it will cost them double, paying for both sides of the lawsuit, for the City’s and and the County’s attorneys. In the case of the City, that’s payment to an outside law firm, not the salary of a City employee.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court has denied the City’s request for an expedited hearing on its motion for a preliminary injunction.

The mayor suggested during City Council session that the incumbent may sue if not elected. So what is the point of the City’s seeming pointless lawsuit? Is it a way to try to invalidate the election later if the incumbents lose?

A potential scenario, after the votes are counted, and if found not to be in their favor, the incumbents could have the city revise the lawsuit to press whatever argument they can think up to keep themselves in power. The next election, in 2022, is for the other three seats. That is, the seats of the three council members responsible for the lawsuit.

CNBC Politics says to get ready for voting irregularities and voter suppression, that it may get worse.

I’m Robin Rowe, a candidate running for Beverly City Council. I don’t accept contributions from developers or from anyone. I don’t do paid political advertising. I don’t plaster everybody’s yards with “free” yard signs paid for by special interests. I’m #1 on the ballot in the March 3rd, 2020, election. See you there.