Why Did Liberal Calif.’s Election Bungling Escape Criticism, Unlike Iowa?

‘In the state with the largest electorate in the nation, the vote count does not end on election night—and that’s a good thing…’

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Photo by Ken Lund (CC)

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The 89 delegates who remain unaccounted for in California‘s Democratic primary (as of noon on Friday) would more than close the 75-delegate gap between leading contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

In fact, the number of California delegates still up-in-the air is more than double the 41 delegates at stake in the Iowa caucus, which officially kicked off the presidential nominating contests in early February.

Like the Iowa election, California’s operation has been riddled with glitches and overall disarray, as Courthouse News Service noted recently.

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But despite having 10 times the total number of delegates that Iowa has, California also has managed, somehow, to duck the sharp scrutiny that Iowa faced.

The widespread failure of the Shadow app in the Hawkeye State resulted in the resignation of the Iowa’s Democratic Party chairman, Troy Price, and even elicited calls for the resignation of Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.

Meanwhile, California’s secretary of state, Alex Padilla, sought even before the primary to lay the scaffold for his state’s disastrous election management—and in the aftermath he spun it by claiming it was a win for democracy.

“In the state with the largest electorate in the nation, the vote count does not end on election night—and that’s a good thing,” Padilla claimed. “Several safety nets exist to protect voting rights.”

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The state relies heavily on absentee and provisional ballots, which long have raised questions about potential ballot-harvesting issues and have cast aspersions on the election integrity as the election-night victories of more conservative candidates often get overtaken in the final counts.

Adding to the chaos, new voting machines in Los Angeles County, among other areas, created hours-long lines that, undoubtedly, deterred many would-be voters.

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn called for an investigation via Twitter.

Yet, on a national level, even Sanders—who lost Iowa to then-candidate Pete Buttigieg by a 0.04-percent margin after demanding a partial recanvassing—seemed to shrug off the chaos in California.

Although projections showed him winning the state, the margin is much narrower than expected, with Biden’s success in earlier-voting states likely swaying the outcome. Democrats’ system of proportional primary delegation means California’s voter delays, thus, likely netted Sanders a loss of delegates overall.

Still, on Friday, Sanders said that if Biden, following his near sweep of all but four states up for grabs on Super Tuesday, wins a plurality of delegates, he should be the nominee without fear of invoking a brokered convention.

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Alex Padilla/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

Regardless, Padilla said his state is in no rush to help bring the picture into focus. He expected it to be more than a month before he officially certified the California vote.

“April 10 is well before the end of the national primary schedule and well before the political parties’ nominating conventions,” he said, downplaying the delay.

As a result, Democrats—in their efforts to circle the wagon around a viable general-election candidate, regardless of how flawed—seem to be doing precisely what Padilla and others in California claim to be working against.

Their calculated delays, paired with the media’s rush to project campaign momentum onto Biden, threaten once again to silence the voices of Sanders’s supporters (and those of the last remaining female candidate, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii), in favor of handing the election to the milder and, ostensibly, more mainstream alternative.

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