Hugh Hewitt notices some red flags in the Sacramento Bee’s recent story on Meg Whitman’s voting record.
UPDATE: Whitman’s campaign writes to the Bee:
Thank you for our conversations in recent days regarding The Sacramento Bee’s September 24th story on Meg’s voting history. As we discussed, the campaign has been in the process of reconciling its information and Meg’s recollections with The Bee’s coverage. So far, we have found a number of disturbing discrepancies that raise serious questions about the quality of The Bee’s reporting and the integrity of your newspaper.
For starters, The Bee reported that while Meg lived in San Francisco from 1981 to 1989, she was not registered to vote and did not vote. The problem we have with this is that Meg clearly remembers voting on multiple occasions, including the 1984 and 1988 presidential elections.
As Meg prepared to enter the race, our campaign requested her voting records from the San Francisco registrar and was told that no records were available from 1981 to 1989. We have a letter from the registrar confirming that fact.
After your story ran, we went back to the San Francisco registrar and asked them to confirm your assertion that Meg had not registered or voted in San Francisco between 1981 and 1989. They could not. The registrar’s office again confirmed in writing that it no longer has records for voters prior to 1992. Records from that period were never transferred and they simply don’t have them.
In an attempt to confirm our findings, we then asked the registrar to provide voting information for several prominent San Franciscans, including Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi. (Dianne Feinstein was Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988. Nancy Pelosi has lived in San Francisco since 1969 and was elected to Congress in 1987.) The registrar’s office came back in writing with the same result. There are no records in any system of Dianne Feinstein or Nancy Pelosi voting in San Francisco prior to 1992.
Clearly, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein voted in San Francisco during the 1980s, and so did Meg Whitman. Based solely on a mysterious unnamed source at the registrar’s office, The Bee conveniently asserts that Meg never voted in San Francisco. This flies in the face of any information actually available at the San Francisco registrar’s office.
And the list of errors in your September 24th story goes on and on:
The Sacramento Bee wrote that Meg was not registered to vote in Ohio. Yet, we have a letter from the Hamilton County Board of Elections confirming that she was registered to vote there from 1980 to 1982.
The Sacramento Bee wrote that the first voter registration it found for Meg was in San Mateo County in 2002. Yet, through voting archives, we have confirmed Meg’s registration in Santa Clara county beginning in February 8, 1999. The affidavit number for Meg’s registration is 70CE223397.
The Sacramento Bee stated that Steve Poizner had regularly voted in elections. Yet, the next day, after our campaign pointed out your mistake, The Bee acknowledged that Poizner failed to vote in statewide primary elections in 1994 and 1998.
The Sacramento Bee stated that there is no record of Meg voting as a young woman in Suffolk County, New York. Yet, when we contacted the registrar in Suffolk County multiple times, we were told that there was no conclusive evidence either way. They did not confirm or deny the registration or voting history.
Finally, using public records, we have so far been unable to confirm your assertion that Steve Poizner voted regularly during his years in Texas, which is not surprising given the condition of records going back to that period. However, you appear to have given Poizner the benefit of the doubt.
When Meg launched her campaign in February, she openly acknowledged that her voting record was far from perfect. She was open about the facts as she remembered them. And her campaign collected all the documentation available to support her claims.
The number of errors in your story, plus the convenient use of a mysterious unnamed source to contradict the information publicly available at the San Francisco registrar’s office, leaves the impression that your newspaper or its sources set out to deliberately misrepresent Meg’s voting history. While Meg makes no excuses for the votes she missed, the record she does have should be accurately reported.
We expect The Sacramento Bee to correct the record as soon as possible. In particular, your newspaper should retract its assertion that Meg never voted in San Francisco or provide a credible on-the-record source to support the claim.
Director of Communications
Meg Whitman for Governor