The Board of Supervisors today approved the final canvass for the November 8 election submitted by Riverside County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer, affirming the results, though some supervisors noted issues that need to be addressed moving forward.
Supervisor Karen Spiegel took issue with the Executive Office’s use of the terms “successfully conducted” in reference to the election and the vote certification presented to the board.
“There were some challenges,” Spiegel said. “We want to assure everyone that we are going to work on this.”
Spiegel and Supervisor Manuel Perez are part of the board’s Ad-Hoc Election Integrity Committee, which meets regularly and plans to further evaluate problems or failures in the general election.
One thing Spiegel didn’t like was the fact that the English and Spanish voter information guides weren’t published simultaneously, and the latest pamphlets were delayed.
“For me, they should go out together,” he said.
The supervisor also questioned why the Wildomar and Menifee vote counts were processed behind other tabulations, with delays resulting in abrupt changes to the “full candidate results.”
“We are taking it seriously,” Spiegel said. “Some things may be due to state guidelines, but how can we do better with those guidelines? We’re really looking at how to improve the process.”
Pérez agreed that the voter information guides should be published soon and together, regardless of the language in which they are printed. In addition, he pointed out that the Latino community relies heavily on radio for information, so that medium should not be overlooked in disseminating information.
“A lot of people listen to the radio all day long,” he said. “The more we can use the radio, the better.”
Supervisor Kevin Jeffries characterized the election cycle as “messy” due to delays in distributing vote-by-mail ballots and pamphlets and tabulating the results in a timely manner.
“We always face challenges. It never goes as well as it could,” he said. “We need to make sure our employees are supported…and get the results, the right results, when we can.”
There were no complaints about possible defects in the more than 1,000 touchscreen electronic voting machines located at in-person vote centers throughout the county. However, earlier this year, a group of residents, along with Temecula City Councilwoman Jessica Alexander, asked the board to stop using Dominion Voting Systems Inc.
Dominion’s programs came under scrutiny and criticism following alleged wrongdoing in swing states during the 2020 presidential election. The county recently signed systems use and software license agreements with the company in 2019.
As part of a board lockdown motion Tuesday, supervisors unanimously approved an extension of the county’s contract with Dominion through July 2029, at a prospective aggregate cost of $14.96 million.
Spencer told City News Service in May that Dominion’s products have been rigorously tested and meet certification criteria.
According to Spiegel, the newly formed Election Advisory Committee will provide recommendations to the board’s ad-hoc committee, assisting in the process of improving election operations.
The seven-member panel is scheduled to meet twice in 2023.
Spiegel asked any residents with election-related concerns to contact her or Perez’s office to submit details the ad-hoc committee can use in its review of the Nov. 8 election.
The Spiegel office can be reached at email@example.com. Perez’s office is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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