Acting registrar-recorder appointed amid concerns

first_imgThe Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint Dean C. Logan acting registrar-recorder, despite critics’ concerns that he lacks a college degree and was at the center of an election controversy in the state of Washington. The appointment, with a salary of $175,826, comes as the Secretary of State’s Office sent draft documents to the county earlier this week listing extra security measures it plans to impose on the county’s voting systems before recertifying them for the February presidential primary election. Secretary of State Debra Bowen has been scrutinizing the county’s elections systems and her consultants have found several flaws that they say could leave it vulnerable to fraud or electronic hacking. At the meeting Tuesday, nine voting-rights activists urged the supervisors not to appoint Logan, saying he’s not qualified for the job and charging that he mishandled votes and allowed the use of uncertified software to count ballots in the closest gubernatorial election in Washington state history. Yaroslavsky said he’s worked closely with Logan and Bowen over the past several months on recertification of the county’s elections systems. “And I have found him to be refreshing, a problem-solver,” Yaroslavsky said. “I don’t want to speak for the secretary of state or her staff, but I think they have found him to be someone who they can work with constructively in addressing the issues.” Department of Human Resources Director Michael J. Henry said the position does not require a candidate with a college degree. “Oftentimes, experience can be substituted for education,” Henry said. Logan, 40, of Whittier started his career as a lobbyist for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He first went to work in an elections office in the late 1980s in Kitsap County, Washington. After serving in a variety of roles in Kitsap County and in the Washington Office of Secretary of State, he was appointed director of elections for the state in 2001. In 2003, he was appointed director of Records, Elections and Licensing Services in King County, home to Seattle. But in 2004, a political firestorm erupted after the closest governor’s race in state history between Republican Gov.-elect Dino Rossi and Democrat Christine Gregoire. The initial count showed Rossi had won by 261 votes, triggering a mandatory machine recount, according to a report by Metropolitan King County Councilman Reagan Dunn. The recount ended with Rossi ahead by 42 votes. A few days later, Logan’s office found 336 more ballots not previously counted, prompting Washington state Democrats to call for a hand recount. In the ensuing weeks, Logan’s office said it found more uncounted ballots and ultimately Gregoire won by 129 votes. Afterward, Logan’s office released records showing that 450 people who had voted were not registered voters and that hundreds of provisional ballots were fed into voting machines without verification and by mistake, making it impossible to authenticate their legality, Dunn wrote. The brouhaha resulted in lawsuits and some elected officials called for Logan’s resignation, accusing him of mismanagement. But Logan said a Superior Court judge ultimately upheld the results of the election. “There is no question there were problems identified in the conduct of that election, just like there were in the close presidential election in 2004,” Logan said. “If you look through the records, I was very upfront about those issues. They were dealt with publicly in a transparent manner. It was a difficult election and there were errors made, but in the end, the outcome of the election was upheld and I think the actions we took were demonstrated to be the right actions.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champThe concerns prompted Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to ask Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka why he recommended Logan, who currently is the department’s chief deputy. Logan will replace Registrar-Recorder Conny McCormack, who will retire Jan. 3. “With the pending retirement of our current registrar-recorder and given that we have a major election coming up in February, having someone with Mr. Logan’s experience – not only in elections but here with our current systems – I think is absolutely critical,” Fujioka said. Fujioka said complaints about Logan’s lack of a college degree are unfair because Logan has extensive experience handling elections in Washington and is the best candidate to serve as acting registrar-recorder. Fujioka said a national search will be conducted for McCormack’s permanent replacement. last_img

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