Author: Sameea Kamal, CalMatters
You have seen these posts on Twitter and Facebook, or someone may have reposted a WhatsApp message about suspicious activity in California removal ballots.
Baseless rumors about election security have always existed, but since the 2020 election and former President Trump’s “stop theft” campaign, such rumors have been rampant. Despite these allegations, according to a coalition’s statement, the 2020 election is considered “the safest election in American history.” Government and election industry Officials.
Fraud allegations in California recall election Some recall supporters zoom in on social media, And some candidates themselves, including Larry Elder, The Republican talk show host leads in most polls.
Therefore, prior to the September 14 election, state and county election officials are emphasizing transparency — including allowing observers to watch vote counts — and strengthening information to combat false information.On TV and social media, the Secretary of State’s Office is How to protect votes, Including independent testing, written records and audits.
The following are the most common allegations and conspiracy theories:
Stolen ballots and extra ballots
There may be fraud, or at least potential fraud. But it is just not universal.
In Torrance last week, the police investigated a report of a man sleeping in his car and found stolen driving licenses, credit cards and mail, including 300 unmarked, unopened recall ballots. The man has been arrested, and voters whose ballots are found will receive new ballots.
Torrance police sergeant Ron Salary said that the ballot is only a small part of the stolen mail. Although the investigation is ongoing, it does not appear to be part of any larger election-related conspiracy.
Jenna Dresner, a spokesperson for the state’s election cybersecurity office, said: “When someone is caught committing a crime, it means the system is running.” “In this case, it’s a regular email. The theft issue is handed over to the appropriate federal and local law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution as needed.”
Some Californians reported that they received votes that were not suitable for them—either the names of their family members or additional votes.
The county issues ballots based on the voter roll-sometimes the outdated register for the following reasons Unreported death or change of address, E.g. Experts say the accelerated timetable for the recall election may cause some votes to fall into the wrong place. But as with Torrance’s stolen votes, there are safeguards to ensure that no one can vote more than once.
Los Angeles County officials emphasized, Signature verification process blocked One person’s vote is not used by other people.
“Each returned mailed ballot is verified by matching the signature on the self-addressed envelope with the signature on the voter registration record,” said Mike Sanchez, the communications officer for the Los Angeles County Registrar/County Clerk. “Once verified, the ballot will be recorded in our database, and the ballot will be processed on election night.”
In 2020, a study published by the Non-Party California Voter Foundation found that 1.4% of all voters Post vote Was rejected in March elementary school.A closer look at San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sacramento counties in 2018 reveals Signature does not match They accounted for 4%, 10%, and 40% of all rejections, respectively. Voters will be notified so that they can try to fix their ballots and count them.
Ballot design: holes and folds
King Alexander, chairman of the California Voter Foundation, said that conspiracy theorists don’t always spread misinformation: sometimes, it just makes voters worry or confused.
“Elections in California are never a simple matter,” she said, noting that some voting details vary from county to county. “This can lead to confusion. Unfortunately, some people jump to the worst when they don’t understand something.”
Take circulated posts as an example Hole in the mailing ballot return envelope. Some people worry that they can see their voting methods through these loopholes.
In response to a tweet from a Los Angeles voter, the county’s Registrar/County Secretary Note that these holes have been part of the envelope design for many years.They allow Voters with visual impairment Find the place where they need to sign, they also make sure that no ballot remains Envelopes and countless.
“This does cause problems that we need to solve, but it doesn’t mean that someone is trying to steal your votes,” Alexander said.
Envelope holes are one of many measures to help people with disabilities, including Remote access mail voting system, It allows people with disabilities to use any audio, video, or other technology they may need to vote privately on their computer.
Due to COVID-19, this process is temporarily open to everyone, which has led to some conservative websites claiming it is a means of election theft. According to the Office of the Secretary of State, in 2020, 37,178 voters registered to receive remotely accessible ballots.
But the state says it has taken steps to prevent any fraud: every registered voter is associated with an address and signature, so no one can print more than one ballot. The voter’s choice is also transferred to the ballot, and the two documents are stored together for post-election auditing.
Janna Haynes, public information officer at the Sacramento County Registrar’s Office, pointed out that sometimes misinformation that contains truthful content appears, but lacks the context for people to understand it.
Sacramento County issued a notice regarding the ballot envelope hole, although its design is different from that of Los Angeles: “This ballot and envelope do not come from Sacramento County – and Sacramento County ballots and envelopes do not have this problem. ——Although there are holes in the envelope to help guide blind voters to the signature line, no matter how the ballots are folded and placed in the envelope, they will not show any competition.”
Because of the order of the 46 alternative candidates on the ballot paper Each state legislature district is different, Which also means that the ballot paper running through the candidate’s name is not a way to “manipulate” the election.
“The position we are taking now is that we only want to solve the problems we see, even before we receive them,” said Janna Haynes, public information officer at the Sacramento County Registry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the complexity of the election; as in 2020, people can choose to vote in person, mail their ballots, or drop their ballots into the drop-in box.
The decision to allow universal mail voting was in Incremental variant Despite claims that the state is using this as an excuse to send ballots to all registered voters, the spread of the coronavirus has become a major problem in California.
In Larsen County, the election office posted a warning on social media to anyone who wanted to recall Newsom. Handing over their votes early would allow someone—presumably the governor and Democrat—to know how many votes were in favor of the removal, so they could ” Estimate how many “votes” they need to make their side the winner.”
The Larsen County Election Office refuted this claim.The Secretary of State said that although the votes can be Processed and calculated 29 days before the election, The result of which party won will not be announced until after the voting is over.
Worries about domination
During the 2020 presidential election, Trump cited a report by U.S. News that falsely claimed that the voting machine had deleted “millions of votes” cast for him.These machines are made by Dominion voteOAN and Fox News have been sued, as well as others who spread the rumors.
Sacramento County issued a statement on August 13 concerning rumors that officials said were circulating domestically and internationally, stating that two Dominion employees were employed by the Registrar’s Office.
“These rumors are false. The origin of these rumors is unclear, but due to the prevalence of rumors, our office is addressing this lie head-on,” the county notice said.
Although the county is used by many Ruling machine, The county stated that the Sacramento County Electoral Office did not or will never hire Dominion employees. It clarified that Dominion technicians were on-site to help test the accuracy of the voting machine, but maintenance and repairs were done by county employees, and no external suppliers were allowed to access voting equipment, election documents, or ballots.
Looking for the facts
So, when it comes to Newsom’s recall, how do you determine what is fact and fiction?A little research helps; Kalmats There is a common problem.
The state has been working with county officials on #VoteSafeCA campaigns to notify voters and provide tips to ensure the safety of their own elections, such as Track their votes.
County election officials encourage voters to raise questions or concerns to their office by phone or email.Sacramento County is Hold a public question and answer session tonight.
“If people are upset about something,” Haynes said, “we must do our best to position ourselves as a source of correct information.”