By Mark Wachtler,
According to a number of voter watchdog groups and consumer advocates, something fishy is going on with the vote counting for California’s hotly contested ballot initiative Proposition 37. Believe it or not, the votes are still being counted. And while a last-second victory for GMO food labeling seems unlikely, it’s not impossible. Unfortunately, the California Secretary of State has suddenly and inexplicably shut down public access to actual vote results.
Proposition 37 – requiring GMO food labeling
It seemed like a sure win back in October. Past polls repeatedly showed that as many as 90% of Americans support a law that requires food manufacturers to label laboratory-created and genetically-modified food-like products as GMO – a ‘genetically-modified organism’. But thanks to a $45 million advertising campaign by some of the world’s largest multinational corporations, the California ballot referendum failed on November 6.
While California is only one state of 50, supporters of GMO food labeling hoped that its sheer size would force food producers to label GMO foods as such if the ballot initiative passed. Representing voters, consumers and parents alike, supporters of Prop 37 were only able to raise $8 million combined between them. Up against $45 million in corporate funding, the mandate to force food producers to label their GMO products quickly lost steam.
As detailed in the Nov. 7 edition of this column, pre-election polling initially showed Prop 37 supported by 67% of California voters just 9 days before the election. By the weekend before Election Day however, that number had dropped to just 42%. The massive corporate political ad campaign had managed to reverse support for the ballot initiative by 25% in only 5 days.
For a list of the corporations that contributed to the $45 million ‘No’ on Prop 37 ad campaign, read the above referenced article ‘CA Prop 37 GMO Food Labeling Initiative defeated’.
Prop 37 fraud accusations
A number of consumer advocacy watchdog groups have quietly raised concerns regarding the legitimacy of the Proposition 37 vote counting by the California Secretary of State. Food Democracy Now has been one of the most vigilant supporters of Prop 37 and they’ve just called the latest news “troubling”. With a response that wasn’t as measured, The Intel Hub went as far as to call it “voting fraud”.
Summarizing their concerns, Prop 37 supporters have 3 main complaints:
- Daily vote counting of absentee ballots, provisional ballots, early voting and other missing votes was being carried out publicly since Election Day. On Dec. 4, as Prop 37 inched closer and closer to victory, the California Secretary of State made the vote counting secret.
- From December 4 to December 5, the vote total for ‘Yes’ on Prop 37 actually went down somehow.
- Independent election watchdogs have released findings of ‘statistical anomalies’ in the California Prop 37 vote totals from 9 counties.
Public vote counting halts midway
Stating their concerns, Food Democracy Now says, “Right now the votes for Prop 37 to label genetically engineered foods are still being counted.” Since Election Day, the CA Secretary of State’s website has been updating the vote totals daily. At its highest peak, ‘Yes’ on Prop 37 had reached 6,004,628 votes. If you look today, it’s actually less than that.
Suddenly on Dec. 4th, officials froze the public tabulations and took the vote counting behind closed doors. “When contacted,” the group says, “the Secretary of State’s office stated there would be no further updates to the vote totals until Dec 14th when state law requires the election results to be certified.”
Vote total going down?
Yes. As questionable as that fact is, Food Democracy Now actually has screen shots from the California Secretary of State’s website showing that exact phenomenon. The consumer advocacy organization has been vigilantly monitoring vote totals since Election Day. They write, ‘On Tuesday, Dec 4th, Prop 37 hit 6,004,628 votes on the California Secretary of State’s website, but this tally was quickly reversed within an hour of being publicized by Food Democracy Now!’
As compiled by this column, here are the California Prop 37 vote totals as they were released by the California Secretary of State:
November 6, (midnight Election Day)
- Yes (support GMO labeling) – 46.9%
- No (oppose GMO labeling) – 53.1%
November 7, (early AM)
- Yes – 4,194,793 (47%)
- No – 4,723,681 (53%)
December 3, (4:58pm local time)
- Yes – 5,986,652 (48.5%)
- No – 6,365,236 (51.5%)
December 4 (6:04am local time)
- Yes – 6,004,628 (48.4%)
- No – 6,390,481 (51.6%)
December 11 (today)
- Yes – 5,986,652 (48.5%)
- No – 6,365,236 (51.5%)
As readers can see, the vote totals somehow went down at the exact same time the state of California announced it would be taking the previously public vote tabulations behind closed doors. Currently, the Secretary of State’s website notes, ‘100% precincts partially reporting as of December 3, 2012.’ It’s as if state officials made the day December 4 disappear.
Straight to the Source: The Examiner