Former LA County Registrar withdraws from CA Redistricting Applicant Pool

As first reported in the Whittier Daily News, former Los Angeles County Registrar Connie McCormack withdrew her application to become a member of the first-ever California Redistricting Commission. She is the fourth candidate from the pool of 120 to withdraw. The Applicant Review Panel will now choose its final 60 candidates from the remaining 116.

Ms. McCormack told the Daily News that she did not want to dedicate the time necessary to prepare for her interview if there was still an outstanding investigation into whether she is eligible to serve on the Commission. Staff of the State Auditor’s office are investigating whether a panel she served on in 2001 disqualified her from service, but their investigation has been slowed by the lack of records regarding that 2001 panel.

McCormack is the second candidate in the “Other” pool of applicants to withdraw, leaving 38 “Other” candidates remaining. There are 39 remaining candidates in each of the Democratic and Republican pools. The Applicant Review Panel’s task is to narrow each of those pools down to 20 names who the ARP will forward to the next step in the selection process.

It was debatable whether Ms. McCormack would have made the final pool of 60 and, if so, whether one or more legislative leaders would have used one of their strikes to remove her from the pool. During her time as Registrar, she was widely respected and often spoke on election administration issues at meetings of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO) and other organizations. But after her retirement her legacy was tainted by the discovery that she took no action to remedy a ballot design problem that led to the invalidation of  hundreds of thousands of ballots from decline to state voters in the 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections. The problem was revealed when 94,000 ballots were invalidated in the 2008 Presidential primary. Ms. McCormack’s successor took steps to fix the problem after the 2008 February primary. (Most news coverage of the 2008 problem are now in fee-based archives, but a commentary on the problem is available here and here.)

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