The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is set to review the latest report about challenges the County faced in the November 2020 Presidential Election. The report details the need for changes at the Registrar of Voters Office to bolster confidence in how elections are run.
The biggest issue was issuing 1.2 million vote by mail ballots, when typically, the county issues about 724-thousand vote by mail ballots.
The increase was due to orders from Governor Gavin Newsom that every voter be sent a vote by mail ballot, due to concerns about people heading to the polls to vote in person while the Covid-19 pandemic raged.
Also, Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer said `long-serving poll workers were not willing to commit to serve” out of fear of COVID-19 exposure.
People who received a vote by mail ballot were allowed to vote at one 130 Voter Assistance Centers, as long as they didn’t also mail in the vote by mail ballot. We have no numbers on how many people did both.
Then the California Secretary of State tried out its new ballot tracking system, which did not work very well.
It notified voters in late September of 2020 that their vote by mail ballot was sent to them on September 10th. In reality, those ballots were not mailed to voters until October 5th. That led to thousands of people contacting their registrar to say they had not gotten their ballot.
Counting votes is slow too because every vote by mail envelope has to be opened by hand, and fed into a machine.
The Registrar’s Office also had 23 staffers come down with Covid-19, which led to a total of 98 staffers who had to be quarantined.
Then, there were more problems with the special election in Cathedral City in February 2021.
The vendor in charge of printing and mailing the ballots, did not finish doing that until the day before election day, with a lack of communication between the vendor and the Post Office causing the problem.
Close-up of political voting pins for 2020 election on white background.
Photo by Alpha Media USA Portland OR