How Votes Count at VNC Elections

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Here is an interesting read. The first email is from Sofia Torres representing The Office of the City Clerk Election Division. The second email is from Mark Ryavec, Candidate for VNC Vice President in response to it. This email exchange was sent to me by Mark Ryavec.

As always, comments are encouraged in the forums.

VNC

Sofia Torres wrote:

Greetings Venice NC Boardmembers and 2010 Venice Neighborhood Council Candidates,

My name is Sofia Torres and I am the Project Coordinator assigned by the City Clerk’s Office to administer Venice Neighborhood Council’s Election. I have received calls from multiple stakeholders regarding processes for registering stakeholders. Before I divulge in providing you with information you will all need to provide Venice stakeholders, I want to first assure you that we are prepared to handle a high turnout election. I have requested additional staff to process voters along with additional supplies.

In compliance with the Venice NC bylaws, we will be requiring some form of documentation from all voters that will establish their stakeholder status. We have developed two separate ballots. The At-Large Ballot is for stakeholders who declare a stake in the neighborhood and affirm a factual basis for it. These stakeholders will have the ability to vote for the Factual Basis Community Officer.

The VNC Ballot will be provided to those stakeholders who provide documentation that can attest to the fact that they live, work or own property within the Venice boundaries. These documents may include, but are not limited to, a Driver’s License, a California Picture ID, a utility bill, property tax bill, a pay stub, a business card providing the voter’s name and address, or a renter’s receipt.

We understand that Venice has a few transitional living centers and shelters in the area. Stakeholders who live at the transitional center or receive services from the shelters and receive their mail at these facilities, and who can establish this through documentation, will be processed as stakeholders who reside/live within Venice.

An example of what we would consider acceptable documentation would be a letter from the transitional living center/shelter stating that they regularly receive services from the particular shelter/facility combined with a secondary form of documentation that confirms their identity like a piece of mail, a Driver’s license or a title for a vehicle. The secondary form of documentation is a requirement that we have for stakeholders who do not have a picture ID. This requirement is included in the List of Acceptable Forms of Documentation available on our website at:
http://cityclerk.lacity.org/election/ncdocs/Acceptable_Forms_of_Documentation_2010.pdf

If a stakeholder can only provide us with a receipt of a local store, then they will be considered factual basis stakeholders. If a stakeholder asserts that he/she lives within the Venice boundaries but cannot provide documentation to substantiate their claim, we will then process these voters provisionally and instruct them to submit supporting documentation no later than three (3) business days after the election in order to count their ballot.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Sofia Torres
Project Coordinator
City of Los Angeles
Office of the City Clerk
Election Division
Neighborhood Council Election Unit
Ph: (213) 978-0444
Fax: (213) 978-0376
[email protected]

Mark Ryavec’s reply:

Ms. Torres,

I am appalled by your plan to allow Stakeholders who “receive services from the shelters and receive their mail at these facilities, and who can establish this through documentation” to be processed as stakeholders who reside/live within Venice in the up-coming election for the Venice Neighborhood Council.

The point of the new “factual basis stakeholder” Community Officer position was to allow those who have some claim to be a stakeholder, but do not reside in a residence, own property or work in Venice, to have a limited voice in the neighborhood council elections by voting for just the factual basis stakeholder community officer, not all the other VNC officers.

There is nothing about receiving services or receiving mail here that establishes a person as a resident of Venice. My brother, who lives in Santa Monica, on occasion has received services from the UCLA Dental Clinic in Venice; this should not give him the same standing as residents of Venice. If he wanted to vote in the VNC election, he should only be allowed to vote for the factual basis stakeholder community officer position.

Your interpretation of the VNC election By-Laws is incorrect and if the City Clerk follows through on this erroneous interpretation you will invite a serious challenge to the election from hundreds of real stakeholders.

I also question your acceptance of a business card as sufficient identification to establish stakeholder status. I could easily get cards printed up using fake addresses to claim stakeholder status in any neighborhood in LA; this would not make me a real stakeholder.

Our organization has sued the City recently and is certainly ready to do so again if necessary to limit the franchise to those who reside in legal residences, work or own property in Venice.

Sincerely,

Mark Ryavec
President
Venice Stakeholders Association
Candidate for VNC Vice President


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