Web Editor's Note: This report was prepared by a non-profit citizen's group that opposed the stadium bond measure. Obviously, they have a point of view. However, on the whole, I have found their information to be far more reliable than statements issued by the Director of Elections, the District Attorney's Office, and the local press.

Press Release - Part One

Contact Person: Doug Comstock 386-4934
Compiled by The Committee to Stop the Giveaway

June 17, 1997


June 12th, in a reversal of previous policy, members of the Committee to Stop the Giveaway were denied access to the voter records by Germaine Wong, with this action, our city suffered a setback in confidence and the beginning of the cover-up, which is designed to prevent citizens from determining that the election of June 3rd, 1997 was fairly conducted.

An Unbelievable Election

The election of June 3rd 1997 will be remembered as the election with the most massive and varied patterns of voter fraud in San Francisco history--powers and funds usually reserved to Official City business were diverted to support the partisan Yes on D & F issue. Federal funds were illegally diverted as well.

Many complaints have been received through our hotline or by letter, I will submit only one in full, because it is typical. Though many were of a more serious nature, this one exemplifies a tone that runs through many (the greeting and introduction are not printed).

Web Editor's Note: (June 24, 1997) Several eye witnesses have expressed fear for their safety so as of today we have removed all names and phone numbers. Their courage in coming forward seems, for the time being at least, to be wasted as the local newspapers and television stations that received this report has not seen fit to contact a single one.

S.W. ... "When I went to my polling place at 711 Fillmore St. at about six o'clock on election night, I saw a man wearing an official-looking "Poll observer" badge standing with his hands on top of the ballot box. I immediately noticed that the laminated, clip-on badge also had a "Yes on D & F" message and a 49er's helmet logo on it.

"I told the man that election workers were not allowed to display any campaign materials inside the polling place. He replied that he was not an actual poll worker but just an "observer." I clarified that the law is that no one, whether a poll worker, voter or campaign worker is supposed to have campaign materials in the polling place. Furthermore, if he were not a poll worker, he should not have his hands on the ballot box. The campaign workers did nothing about this. I got the distinct impression they were friends with the "observer." The "observer" simply argued with me that voters would not be influenced significantly by his badge.

"As I went into the voting booth, I heard the man ask the poll workers my name and address, which they told him. This made me feel very uncomfortable.

"The fact that the badge was a professionally printed, apparently mass-produced and very official-looking product suggests this was not an isolated incident at one polling place, but a coordinated plan by the Yes on D & F campaign to get their election materials inside the polling place in clear violation of the law.

"When I returned home, I called the Election Department. I was very impressed that I got a knowledgeable responsive person on the line after only a minute or two of being on hold. She agreed that wearing a badge with a campaign slogan on it was blatantly illegal and that the workers had been trained not to permit such materials in the polling place. She also indicated he should not be in contact with the ballot box if he were not a designated poll worker. She stated she would call the polling place right away and tell them to have the badge removed. This incident left me wondering how many voters in polling places all over the city might have been influenced by Yes on D & F's illicit campaign tactics. It also left me wondering if my "no" votes were counted, or were diverted. I felt intimidated by the "observer" obtaining my name and address.

"As a former county attorney (and poll worker) I was appalled at this obvious disregard of basic campaign laws. I believe that if the D & F Campaign couldn't play a clean game, they don't deserve to claim a victory. Obviously, with a vote this close, they cannot truly claim a mandate from the people. Best of luck in any challenge your Committee may undertake. Please do not hesitate to call me at the above number if I may be of further assistance."

1. Illegal Polls

On May 31, 1997 the campaign to oppose the stadium/mall at Candlestick Point (No on D & F) learned of an unprecedented opening of four early voting places in Housing Authority Projects. A flyer was passed out by Yes on D & F worker Dee Minor, and others, from a motorcade/rally on city streets featuring the Mayor and dozens of other politicos in a parade of vehicles promoting a partisan position in favor of the stadium/mall. The flyer urged voters to vote early at the sites specified and featured the telephone number of the Yes on D & F campaign. The motorcade itself was an unauthorized use of city property, police and other city services. These "election polls" on Housing Authority property were shown on television and included poll workers wearing partisan emblems and clothing and even stadium proponent Eddie DeBartolo campaigning for his proposition. The sites were illegally placed in areas with a preponderance of unemployed people, and the main thrust of the campaign in the area was the promise of jobs.

When these sites were discovered by the No on D & F campaigns, calls were made to the Director of Elections to inform us of any early polls, their response was that early voting was allowed at the Department of Elections and at City Hall. "Those are the only sites?" A volunteer asked. "Yes," the employee responded. When Espanola Jackson, an African-American called the same number, the other four polls were disclosed to her.

Later it was discovered that these sites were paid for with federal funds from the Housing Authority, an illegal use of federal funds to influence a local election. The polling sites were open for three days, contrary to state policy. It has not yet been determined who staffed the sites, and claims that only 89 provisional ballots were cast has not been corroborated.

2. Provisional Ballot Stuffing: Vote Early, Vote Often.

(a). On Monday June 2nd, the day before the election, a man who was afraid to give his name reported that he was approached on Castro Street by a Stadium/mall campaign worker, possibly because he was wearing 49er colors and a jacket with an official logo. He was told that it was legal to vote provisionally as well as at his own polling place.

(b). R.G. witnessed an incident where a young couple came to vote as voter handbook stated that 777 Jones was their polling place. They found their names were not on the list, the precinct captain told them to vote at this precinct and go down to their polling station which was at 640 Post. They objected that this would constitute voter fraud, whereupon they were informed that was not the case, go ahead and vote here and vote there as well (640 Post). Mr. Garcia also reports that when he came to the polls (777 Jones St.) a man was sitting at the table where poll workers usually sit, wearing 49ers regalia. When he commented to the clerk that this was not legal, the clerk eventually agreed after some argument and asked the man to leave. (The man did so but just hid in the bus shelter until after Mr. Garcia left.)

(c). John D. Griffin has been arrested for voting by using a false name, but he had also been foiled in his attempt to vote earlier at the Registrar's Office by a suspicious clerk. More about his incident is reported below.

(d). J.L. reported that he overheard a man "boasting that he had voted three times, and he is not even a resident of the city." He reports that he can supply the name.

Other reports of encouragement to vote twice have been received by our office. It turns out that provisional ballots are counted and separated from their envelopes at the same time. The signature is compared to the signature on the original registration, which may be very old. This is not a scientific method by any stretch of the imagination, and what passes as "a plausible match," strains credulity. District of Elections officials were unclear on what degree of training the persons doing the handwriting analysis had or where the temporary help had come from (The Mayor's Office of Community Development)? But what is most disturbing about this methodology is that the passing ballots are counted without checking to see if the voter has already voted. "That will be revealed by the tape at a later date," Germaine Wong replied, duplicate voters will get a phone call. But, will the vote be counted, one might well ask? Yes, the vote will still be counted, since there is no way to determine which way a voter voted once the envelopes are separated from the ballots. "We have never had more than two or three show up on the tape" says Germaine Wong, "and if something bigger happens, we will change our procedure." The vote will stand as is, fraud or not. So, if you would like to vote twice in San Francisco, vote absentee, mail it two or three days before the election, and vote provisionally. You might get a call from the Registrars office, but you'll get to vote twice.

3. Ballot Design Complaints.

We have received many complaints from voters about the lack of privacy. Poll workers took ballots, often forcibly, from voters and checked them thoroughly. There was no cover to provide the standard privacy that the term "secret ballot" would seem to imply.

(a). WN at a precinct on Housing Authority property in the Potrero Hill district, was told by poll workers to punch out the ballot on the front of the card only. This was repeated to his entire family. This would leave items C, D, E, and F yet to be voted upon.

(b). Peter Byrne (285-7418) at a Mission district precinct complained that a poll worker snatched his ballot from his hand when he tried to put it in the ballot box. The worker then read how he voted.

(c). JD voting at the Department of Elections, complained that he was harassed by a video camera operator who badgered him to reveal how he voted. He asked the cameraman to reveal who he worked for, but he would only reply "an independent company."

(d). MD complained that, at his poll at 26th near Bryant, a poll worker took his ballot from him, read his vote and set it aside rather than putting it in the box. He insisted that the man put it inside the box before he left, and the man did so.

(e). WT voted with her mother and brother-in law at poll in Visitacion Valley. They felt threatened by a group of 5 or 6 "big burly men" wearing 49ers emblems and items standing right outside the polls. Winnie was not so afraid, because she was with her relatives, but might not have gone in if they hadn't been with her. She felt brave once inside and remarked to her two companions that she was "voting no on everything." She was the first to complete her ballot and handed it to the poll workers, one was Filipino and the other was a large African-American man. They examined her ballot card thoroughly and she was afraid they might signal to the men outside. Her mother-in-law and brother-in-law, who was voting for the very first time in a free election, were both intimidated, but handed in their votes, and stood nervously as they were examined by the workers. Tsang's brother-in-law hopes that "next time I vote I will not be watched," that was something he had thought he had "escaped when he left Communist China."

(f). Another Chinese lady voting in Visitacion Valley, but afraid to release her name for fear of retribution, felt angry and intimidated because poll workers at a Campbell St. polling site took so long to check her card, and then seemed unwilling to put it in the box. She panicked and ran out to her car, thinking she had left her keys in the ignition, but when she came back in her ticket was not there, she is worried that the workers did not put her vote in the box.

(g). A woman in the Richmond who depends for her livelihood on a contract with the City, and is frightened to give her name make her name public, objected to the lack of privacy when she turned in her ballot. She felt uneasy that her vote was not secret. She had been a poll worker previously.

(h). DM was more outspoken. "It's none of their G__ d___ business how I voted!" He reported being "stymied" by the card without any cover, and angered by the way poll workers slowly checked each side of his "se cret" ballot, especially because the poll at 4000 Alemany seemed isolated, and there was only a bungie cord protecting his ballot from possible voiding by partisan poll workers. (Punching both yes and no voids a vote on any issue.)

4. Unbelievable Turnout.

(a). The well publicized story of John D. Griffin, arrested for voting for someone other than himself, was a fluke. By mere coincidence, a temporary Inspector with the Department of Elections, Alex Clemens, happened upon a man who had been turned away from the Department of Elections for want of an I.D. while he was voting for another person in the Richmond District. It is unknown how many other times the man voted.

(b). Mrs. HA said that at her precinct at 5:25 pm, when she handed in her ballot, she noticed that her son, a Lt. Comm. in the Navy (currently on leave at Huntington Beach) had supposedly voted. She knew that he had not and further the signature against his name was not that of her son's. Obviously, someone had used his name.

(c). Doug Comstock (386-4934) concerned about voter fraud in connection with unusual voters, compared signatures with Germaine Wong at the Department of Elections for about 15 minutes on Tuesday, June 9, 1997. Several obviously fraudulent signatures were found by Mr. Comstock, Germaine agreed to only three or four that needed "further investigation." Ms. Wong wrote a few of the names down, but nothing has been done about them. Germaine Wong was unable or unwilling to grant access to signature records by citizens, insisting that she is the only one who can access those records at the present time. When asked how "further investigation" is conducted, Ms. Wong said new registration cards are sent to suspected fraudulent signatorys to update their signature. When asked by Mr. Comstock how she determines that the card is actually signed by the voter, Ms. Wong responded that they hadn't "worked that out."

(d). At the Department of Elections, former Housing Authority Commission President, Barbara Meskunas (921-3455) on June 10, 1997 assisted by Germaine Wong, compared signatures for about 10 minutes, because that's all the time Ms. Wong had available. Approximately 20 names were investigated in one precinct (3005) in the Hunters View Housing Project. Of those, 16 were deemed fraudulent by Meskunas' account, but only 8 or 10 were deemed worthy of "further investigation" by Ms. Wong. "Whole families seemed to have been signed in the voters log by one or two hands," Meskunas complained. Bessie Jackson, a supposed clerk for precinct 3005, she also noted, had three different signatures, one when she received the ballots, another when she voted, and a third when she signed-off on the ballot count. However, she may not have actually been a clerk for the election. A source inside Hunters View says that Bessie does not know she was a clerk, she went up and cast her ballot as usual and sat and chatted with the poll workers-- who were, in fact, former members of gangs recruited by TURF, an organization contracted by the mayor to "protect" MUNI buses and who are now under contract with the Housing Authority to perform various services. These "former gang members" it should be noted, may be on parole, and thus subject to coercion to do whatever is necessary to stay out of jail. Bessie Jackson could not have signed to certify the count, because she wasn't there at 8:00 pm according to the same source.

(e). Acting on a tip from his Voter Fraud Hotline, Doug Comstock (dougcoms@aol.com) asked to check signatures against voters logs on June 11, 1997. Mr. Comstock was denied access. "I have decided" Ms. Wong said, "to change the procedure, from now on all requests must be in writing and with 24 hours notice, however no access will be granted until after Monday, June 16, 1997. Later, on June 13, Mr. Comstock received a call from Ms. Wong informing him that all voter logs are tied-up until Thursday, June 19.

5. Election Day Voter Intimidation. Most of the complaints have come from voters about campaigning less than 100 feet from the polls.

(a). GW complained that at his polling place, Olympic at Clarendon, there was a large bright red and yellow truck prominently displaying a 49er's logo, parked on the fire station property, right next to the door to enter the polling place.

(b). JG went to at his precinct at Jackson

Playground, Arkansas & Mariposa at 6:pm. When he entered, there was a man sitting at the ballot box table dressed in SF 49er's jacket and hat. Mr. Gillenkirk remarked on this, saying that it was not legal for the gentleman to be sitting there displaying 49er regalia. The precinct worker remarked that it was his friend and everything was OK. Mr. Gillenkirk disagreed as did another SF voter. Nothing was done. Mr. Gillenkirk felt intimidated by this behavior.

(c). Mrs. W (name and number available only by consent to each individual) complained that when she went out to her polling place, a framing shop on Ortega St., she was approached by a man inside the polling place wearing a Yes on D & F button who exhorted her to "vote yes on D & F," pleading that "we need the jobs." Mrs. W said the exchange made her feel very uncomfortable, as she had planned to vote no on the measures. Note to media:many people have asked that their name remain seacret for fear that hooligans will break their windows or harm them in some way. (This was a consistent fear throughout the campaign, even the most avid opponents of D & F were often afraid to put a sign in their windows.)

(d). ME complained that there was a big poster saying Yes on D & F right outside her polling site at 1145 Stanyan St. (d). JS approached his poll at 6:pm. where a man was milling around outside wearing a 49ers cap he appeared to be counting the vote list. Then the man went inside, and talked with the poll workers without removing his hat.

(e). CM (441-1344) reported that on election day, he passed the First Congregational Church at Post and Mason where a polling place was located. A man with an armful of Yes on D & F literature was blocking the entrance to the voting area, checking the voter rolls. Another man was handing out Yes on D & F literature. He stood a few steps down from the first man, also blocking the entrance. Mr. Murphy threatened to call the police and they left.

(f). A Mr. D called in a report that he had seen a big truck with Yes on D & F signs parked right outside a polling site at Glen Park School in SF. (He did not wish to leave his full name or, phone number or precinct.)

(g). LC (telephone number withheld) complained that when she was voting at her poll at 151 Leopold Ave., poll workers were openly discussing the "benefits that the stadium would provide."