Dear Alameda County Supervisors and your Chiefs of Staff,
I write on behalf of the Wellstone Democratic Club as well as all the other Democratic Clubs and organizations that have signed below.
As Alameda County voters, civic leaders, and Democratic Clubs who believe in transparency, accountability and the importance of the right to vote in our democratic country, we write this open letter to express our public expression of lost confidence in the current Alameda County Registrar in upholding the values of our county, accountability to the voters, and the right to vote. We call on you to restore faith in our Alameda County Registrar’s office by removing Tim Dupuis from his secondary position as Registrar and immediately moving to hire a qualified and dedicated full-time Registrar who will respect and enact the will of the voters of Alameda County.
We believe the time to act is now:
- Disenfranchising Young Voters: The current Registrar has been disenfranchising thousands of 16 and 17 year old residents in Alameda County from their right to vote by not implementing Measure QQ Oakland Youth Vote that passed in 2020 with 67% of the vote and Measure Y1 that passed in Berkeley in 2016 with 70% of the vote to allow 16 and 17 year olds to be able to help choose their School Board members who directly impact their lives. While other municipalities have implemented similar measures across the country more quickly, the current Registrar, by not moving quickly to enfranchise these young voters, may have impacted several local races that otherwise could have been impacted by the will of young voters in some very close races – which can have lasting impacts and repercussions on policy and the future of our schools. Studies show that when voters start voting earlier, they are more likely to become habitual life-long voters – the lack of timely action has impacted a generation of voters.
- Making Serious Mistakes with Ranked Choice Voting in 2022: In the November 2022 election, the serious mistake of disenfranchising voters with suspended ballots – and not responding to concerns about the mistake expressed to the Registrar’s office before certification of the false result in the Oakland District 4 School Board race – has led to the loss of confidence of voters in the Registrar and our democratic voting system, and the wrong person being sworn into elected office. Alameda County residents contacted the Registrar’s office about the mistake of not counting the suspended ballots when the results were first released, but it is widely recognized by many that the Registrar’s office does not respond to contact made with their office or take reports seriously, which is unacceptable. Thus, the Registrar cannot be responsive to the public that it is supposed to serve – or held accountable for correctly enacting our democratic process. Only when a California Ranked Choice Voting organization shed light on this mistake did the Registrar take any action to correct this serious mistake. This mistake, and the lack of followup, forced candidates to pay for legal expenses to challenge the outcome in court, when it was not their fault, and deprived District 4 voters of the correct representation for months. The lack of transparency and responsiveness to this major mistake has led to a lawsuit by local press, costing taxpayers more money. A vigilant and responsible Registrar would have taken reports of mistakes seriously, attended to them immediately and corrected the mistake before certification of the election results.
- Unresponsiveness to Mistakes that Disenfranchise Voters, the Lack of Implementation for Vote by Mail and Limited English Proficient Voters in 2020, and Insufficient Training: 15 local civic organizations have documented how the current Registrar disenfranchised up to 200 voters in East Oakland in the November 2020 election through lack of proper training and unresponsiveness to correct the mistakes made. In this same election, ballot drop boxes were not properly provided in neighborhoods like West Oakland when vote by mail was necessary due to the pandemic, and multilingual facsimile ballots were not provided at many voting polls as required by law to enable the 17% of Limited English Proficient voters in Oakland to reference when voting. Many Registrar staff are hired temporarily for each election and not provided with sufficient training to properly advise voters and count ballots. Alameda County deserves better.
The current Registrar currently serves simultaneously in two positions as the County’s Information Technology Director and as the County Voter Registrar – two positions that should be served in a full-time capacity by two people to properly implement the critical infrastructure needed to increase equitable access and participation for residents of our county. It is our understanding that the Informational Technology Director was placed into the additional Registrar role without previous elections training and leadership experience. The mistakes made above, the lack of responsiveness and implementation of the law, and the disregard of our residents shown by the current Registrar’s office reflect this poor decision and do not align with the values of Alameda County. We demand the hiring of a new Registrar with training in elections for the next election who will work hard in a full-time capacity to enfranchise, empower and listen to the diverse communities it is supposed to serve. We have lost confidence in the current Registrar’s leadership to serve our County, and demand that not one more election cycle continue under his double employment. Recently, the Registrar has refused to answer questions from residents in a public meeting. The residents of Alameda County deserve a dedicated, responsive and qualified full-time Registrar who aligns with our values as a diverse and inclusive community.
As representatives of the voters and public officials paid by our tax dollars, we call on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator to take action to transition to better, responsive leadership to ensure fair, accurate, and inclusive elections. If you do not, we will hold you accountable for future mistakes and seek new Alameda County leadership. We would like to request a meeting with you to discuss these concerns.
The resolution below was just passed by the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee.
Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club
MGO Democratic Club
Oakland Rising Action
East Bay Young Democrats
John George Democratic Club
Block by Block Organizing Network
Coalition for Police Accountability
Oakland East Bay Democratic Club
Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) Oakland/Berkeley
Democratic Party RESOLUTION in Support of Hiring a Full-Time Registrar of Voters for Alameda County
Whereas, the Alameda County Democratic Party serves to uphold the values of our democratic society, hold elected officials accountable for good governance of the systems at the foundation of our society for over 1.6 million residents, and believes that the Alameda County Registrar of Voters must have the trust of its voters
Whereas, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters should act with urgency and timeliness to respond to any reports of lack of access to their legal right to vote with immediate action and to build systems that enfranchise our most disenfranchised residents, but has failed 16 and 17 year olds, limited English proficient voters, and Black voters to be able to exercise their right to vote and participate in the democratic process
Whereas, the current Registrar holds two critical positions in Alameda County and cannot give the sufficient and necessary attention and time it takes to fully enfranchise a County of almost 930,000 diverse voters in 14 incorporated cities and 6 unincorporated areas
Therefore, let it be resolved that, the Alameda County Democratic Party expresses a public vote of lost confidence in the current Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis who has failed to be responsive to the needs of our diverse voters and the values of our County to ensure timely transparency, accountability and communication to implement our democratic and legal rights
Therefore be it resolved that, the Alameda County Democratic Party calls on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to call on the Alameda County Administrator to take immediate action to restore the faith and confidence of its voters in our democratic system by hiring a new dedicated, responsive and trained full-time Registrar of Voters and staff who can maintain the trust of voters and will provide the necessary and critical leadership to ensure that our diverse communities have access to their right to vote in the next election and participate in the democratic process at the heart of public accountability and trust.