Riverside County (RivCo) Board of Supervisors pulled an agenda item (#71, Action Item #22284) from the official agenda for today’s board meeting in Riverside, California. The agenda item was a contract amendment with election material and service provider Runbeck Election Services, out of Maricopa County, Arizona, to extend contractual services from June 2023, to July 2024. Upon approval, the extension would cost taxpayers an additional $650,000, and “up to $65.000 in additional compensation, 100% General Fund” RivCo Registrar of Voters, Rebecca Spencer brought the proposed amendment before the board and recommended its approval.
RivCo & Runbeck History
RivCo’s relationship with Runbeck extends back to 2018, according to the amendment attached to the agenda. In that year, Runbeck “was the lowest responsive bidder” to a RivCo 2017 “Request for Quote” for ballot printing and mailing services. According to the Action Item Form 11 (also attached to the agenda), the original contract was for $1,500,000.00.
In December of 2022, the original contract was amended for the first time in order “to pay remaining invoices for November and December 2022 election services” (emphasis mine). The December 2022 amendment was also to “ensure continuity of services while pursuing avenues toward the next generation agreement….“ Whatever that means.
Wait a minute. According to the RivCo checkbook, the taxpayers have paid Runbeck Election Services a total of $11.69 million for printing/binding services. The original contract was for $1.5 million, what are we missing?
What are we missing indeed–always with the best questions! According to that first amendment in 2022, we’re missing Runbeck more than doubling their profits for one extra year. But there must be more, there is always more.
Going back to the RivCo checkbook, we glean that RivCo taxpayers have paid Runbeck at least $1.24 million every year since 2018. According to the checkbook, Runbeck earned highs of $2.11 million and $3.58 million in 2021 and 2023, respectively.
Who is Runbeck?
At this point, we should ask who is Runbeck and are they controversial in any way? We have discussed Runbeck here on DesertTruth, and on Substack before that. From the linked Substack article, we learn via UnCoverDC that Runbeck was receiving questionable payments from Fulton County, GA. The UncoverDC articles also raised questions to the number of ballots that Runbeck printed for Fulton County. Actually UncoverDC brought hard evidence, through public records, that things were amiss.
Runbeck Election Services has bigger problems, more recent and closer to home though. As it turns out, in a complaint filed with Maricopa Superior Court on May 8, 2023, Runbeck is being sued, along with some of their pals and familiar players in the debacle that is Maricopa County elections. The suit was filed by We The People Arizona Alliance, a non-profit, and defendants included Maricopa Recorder Stephen Richer (who founded a PAC against Republicans), the Maricopa County Recorders office, and the entire Maricopa Board of Supervisors–in both official and individual standings.
The suit is a “Verified Complaint for Statutory Special Action to Secure Access to Public Records,” and seeks video footage from the defendants. Specifically, the non-profit seeks video that shows any loading/unloading of election materials from both county facilities and Runbeck locations. Interesting to note, the suit expends three pages describing the services that Runbeck provides to Maricopa County. It would be logical to conclude that those services are very similar to the services that Runbeck provides to Riverside County.
The suit alleges that Runbeck is “…thoroughly enmeshed and intertwined in Maricopa County elections…” Runbeck also stands accused of assisting the government in “the collection, inspection, counting, supervision, administration, and retention of mail-in drop box, and provisional ballots….” In addition, the suit alleges that the only observers that Runbeck allowed at their private facility, and only on election day, were actually paid employees.
Back to Riverside
Does Runbeck’s shenanigans have anything to do with Riverside County? Well, no, not directly, at least not that I am aware of. The issue that Riverside County residents should have is not if RivCo has any culpability in Runbeck’s legal issues, or even if Runbeck itself does. The issue should be that Runbeck is clearly in the center of some very serious election controversies. Those controversies, along with the fact that a large (and growing daily) population of America believes that our elections are neither secure, nor fair. Democrats themselves asserted this in 2016, remember? The sheer numbers of voters, across the political spectrum, that are continuing to awaken to the fact that Trump was right, about the election (and everything else), should be enough to give RivCo pause and to seek Runbeck’s services elsewhere.