California Forum

Time for Kimberly Ellis to concede

Kimberly Ellis, center, lost to Eric Bauman in last month’s election to head the California Democratic Party. Her team has disputed the result.
Kimberly Ellis, center, lost to Eric Bauman in last month’s election to head the California Democratic Party. Her team has disputed the result. AP

One clear message emerged from the California Democratic Party’s May convention – Democrats are counting on us. Opportunities for working families, single-payer health care, college affordability, and curbing climate change are within our grasp with an energized and united party.

Unfortunately, having been defeated in a hard-fought race for party chair, Kimberly Ellis’ camp is creating a distracting sideshow that won’t change the outcome but will suck energy away from delivering on our Democratic values.

The 2017 officer election was held under established party rules and transparent processes. The votes have been counted, recounted and now reviewed one-by-one by Ellis’ team.

Our sincere hope is that she does what any strong leader would do after a loss: End this unnecessary drama so the party and our activists can focus on what is really important.

Past elected Democratic Party leaders had the foresight to adopt the most un-hackable, fraud-proof voting system in the nation: a paper ballot system that leaves a definitive record and can be easily verified since voters’ names appear right on the ballot. There are no software bugs, no chances of Russian hacking. No black boxes for a forensic audit to crack.

For four days her team scrutinized ballots. They still can’t supply a single name of a person whose vote should be tossed out. In what seems a desperate attempt to find something wrong, they single out the vote of a disabled delegate of the Orthodox Jewish faith who needed assistance to vote on Sabbath.

The Democratic Party is not going to rewrite the rules for her or any candidate just because the outcome was not in their favor. An additional audit won’t provide more information and won’t change the vote count. All it will do is keep our party mired in mud when we need to be organizing like crazy to defeat the extremist Trump and GOP agenda.

Ellis is a leader, whether or not she is the chair of the California Democratic Party. She has inspired and trained hundreds of women throughout the state to run for office. Our sincere hope is that she does what any strong leader would do after a loss: End this unnecessary drama so the party and our activists can focus on what is really important – standing up for Californians, not fighting each other.

It’s time for Ellis to gracefully concede and join us in moving the Democratic Party forward.

Melahat Rafiei is a member Democratic National Committee and can be contacted at Melahat@PSCampaigns.com.

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