With false allegations of voter fraud trailing the California recall election, we checked in with Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who oversees the state’s elections, about how voting has progressed and the way her workplace is coping with efforts to undermine religion within the contest. The interview has been flippantly edited and condensed.
How is voting going?
We’ve seen over eight million ballots mailed again up to now, which is a really important variety of ballots coming in. In order that in itself is somewhat thrilling, in addition to ballots nonetheless being dropped off on the poll bins this morning.
We’ve had of us calling all of our hotlines asking the place their polling locations are or in search of extra info. It’s clear that individuals are taken with voting at this time.
Why have folks been calling the hotlines?
Typically folks have acquainted polling locations that they used to go to perpetually and now they’ve modified. We’ve had a few calls saying, “The place is it now?”
We’ve had of us who couldn’t discover their ballots — misplaced them after they got here within the mail. And we’ve had of us who left the state for a bit and surprise how can they nonetheless vote, these sorts of issues.
However we’ve had no lengthy traces, no of us ready. We’ve a wait time of zero proper now.
Every other hitches at this time?
We’ve seen small issues. One polling place opening 10 minutes late, that sort of stuff.
Due to the fires, we’ve had some of us who moved away from their locations. So we have now to cope with that difficulty. We had one county the telephones weren’t servicing. We’ve simply tailored and adjusted to each little new factor that comes alongside. However we haven’t had something that’s been a serious shutdown.
For these dealing with difficulties due to the wildfires, what else have you ever finished?
We’ve made certain that each one of those that have been within the fireplace zones acquired their mail-in ballots.
We made certain that those that needed to depart or who’ve misplaced their houses, that that they had entry to voting in numerous different methods, by way of with the ability to go to a different county to vote, ensuring that they had their mail-in ballots, ensuring they knew the place the poll bins have been in different counties or different areas. So we have now made outreach to all of those that might need been affected by any fireplace or any sort of tragedy.
We additionally arrange distant cell voting for our firefighters to ensure that those that are away from their houses had entry to vote.
How are you making ready your workplace for the claims and doable litigation of election fraud that Republicans say they might carry?
I feel the entire dialogue of fraud throughout the nation sort of provides us a preview of what folks will do. They might file numerous lawsuits. We all know that they’ve been making an attempt to gather info — they arrange an internet site saying, ‘For those who see any irregularities, present us your irregularities.’ And, , folks go to courtroom, and up to now throughout the nation, they’ve misplaced as a result of there isn’t any widespread fraud within the election course of. However whether or not they determine to go to courtroom or not, we can be there to defend the method.
We all know that they’ll at all times speak about the truth that it was a stolen election or fraud, — or there’s a brand new time period, “shenanigans.” We’ve no proof of that, and after we’ve had allegations of any sort, particularly if there’s any particular info, we investigated. And as most people have discovered throughout the nation, there isn’t any there there.
So we’re not completely freaking out. We’re simply ensuring that the whole lot we do is appropriate by the ebook. That we’ve taken our time to ensure that there’s transparency. And up to now, we’ve not discovered something ourselves.
Are there additional steps of transparency that you simply’ve taken on this hyperpartisan period when the method itself is contested?
We do what we’ve at all times finished. This can be a distinctive election as a recall. However have in mind, we’ve had 4 or 5 elections this yr, particular elections, in addition to final November.
Anytime we uncover one thing that could be an space of concern, we do our greatest to ensure that we shore that up. If we uncover that someone is complaining that the indicators are too small, they couldn’t actually see an indication at a voting sales space, we attempt to ensure that subsequent time, we do extra. If of us really feel disenfranchised due to language, if there’s sufficient of us in that neighborhood, we ensure that we enhance the variety of languages and ensure that these languages are clear.
And so it’s not like we’re gearing up as a result of Mr. Elder says one thing or another person says one thing. We’re conscious that the query of fraud or questions of transparency are fixed. And, as I journey to totally different registrars’ workplaces, I see them responding to totally different points, like ensuring that there’s house that individuals can observe the opening of ballots.
After I was in a single space, that they had mainly created pathways for folk to have the ability to do this. So these are the sorts of issues that we reply to on a regular basis to ensure that those that need to construct problems with transparency and equity have a chance to take action.