Bad Time: DONE Doubles Down on Online Voting

DONE WATCH – There’s bad luck and there’s bad timing, and many times through no fault of anyone, in particular, people get walloped by both.  It’s the wrong-time/wrong-place situation we attribute to freakishly unavoidable car wrecks.

However, there are also object lessons in sheer mistiming, guaranteeing organizations like the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) will get voted into the SNAFU Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Last week, in a rare bipartisan move, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee directed all U.S. states to replace any voting system that doesn’t create a paper ballot, and cease and desist from using any election system that connects through the Internet.

Those familiar with our national discourse (read: everyone) knows our election process is under scrutiny.  From gerrymandered districts to bogus ballot counts to voter ID disincentives to plain old fraud, there are serious issues with how elections are managed and how votes get tabulated in our new era of razor-thin margins.  So, why is DONE in full-throated support of taking all NC’s to an online registration and voting system for the next round of elections?


These days, given words like “cyber” and “meddling” and “Russia” occupy the same headline a lot, “online” and “voting” now go together like dumb and dumber.

Aside from sustaining their reverse Midas touch– where everything they handle turns to crap– DONE’s embrace of online voting holds little upside and a big risk of vitriolic blowback.  Yet, General Manager Grayce Liu has a story and she’s sticking to it: online voting will increase election turnouts!  And in his metric-driven world, that likely makes her boss Mayor Garcetti very happy; Liu is really good at managing up.  The 2016 NC “online voting pilot” didn’t prove anything near the panacea for L.A. civic apathy it was touted as, but DONE’s theory is if they don’t make the same 2016 mistakes over again, it could work.  All they need is a little blind faith and another two million dollars, give or take.

The city council’s sub-committee who says they’re there to ride herd on DONE is David Ryu’s ‘Health, Education and Neighborhood Councils’ Committee (HENC), who stated in an August 2017 Report to City Council: “In general, the (voting) pilot program was successful…”

No.  It.  Wasn’t.

DONE cooked the data in a laborious 74-page report making it seem effective, but when taking a closer look, calling it “successful” is misleading at best.  One would think someone on Ryu’s (or Herb Wesson’s or Gil Cedillo’s) staff might double-check the math, but from a due diligence standpoint, they’re less complicit saying they took DONE’s word for it, but it’s not like these strategic omissions weren’t pointed out to them, either.