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 evenly edited and condensed.
How is voting going?
We’ve seen over eight million ballots mailed again up to now, which is a really vital variety of ballots coming in. In order that in itself is reasonably thrilling, in addition to ballots nonetheless being dropped off on the poll containers this morning.
We’ve had of us calling all of our hotlines asking the place their polling locations are or searching for further data. It’s clear that individuals are excited by voting right now.
Why have folks been calling the hotlines?
Generally folks have acquainted polling locations that they used to go to endlessly 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 marvel how can they nonetheless vote, these sorts of issues.
However we’ve had no lengthy strains, no of us ready. We’ve got a wait time of zero proper now.
Another hitches right now?
We’ve seen small issues. One polling place opening 10 minutes late, that form of stuff.
Due to the fires, we’ve had some of us who moved away from their locations. So we have now to take care of that subject. 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 significant shutdown.
For these going through difficulties due to the wildfires, what else have you ever finished?
We’ve got made positive that each one of those that have been within the fireplace zones received their mail-in ballots.
We made positive that those that needed to go away or who’ve misplaced their houses, that they’d entry to voting in varied different methods, by way of having the ability to go to a different county to vote, ensuring they’d their mail-in ballots, ensuring they knew the place the poll containers have been in different counties or different areas. So we have now made outreach to all of those that may need been affected by any fireplace or any form of tragedy.
We additionally arrange distant cell voting for our firefighters to guarantee 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 could convey?
I feel the entire dialogue of fraud throughout the nation form of offers us a preview of what folks will do. They might file varied lawsuits. We all know that they’ve been making an attempt to gather data — they arrange a web site saying, ‘For those who see any irregularities, present us your irregularities.’ And, you recognize, folks go to courtroom, and up to now throughout the nation, they’ve misplaced as a result of there isn’t a widespread fraud within the election course of. However whether or not they determine to go to courtroom or not, we will probably be there to defend the method.
We all know that they may all the time speak about the truth that it was a stolen election or fraud, — or there’s a brand new time period, “shenanigans.” We’ve got no proof of that, and once we’ve had allegations of any kind, particularly if there’s any particular data, we investigated. And as most folk have discovered throughout the nation, there isn’t a there there.
So we’re not completely freaking out. We’re simply ensuring that every part we do is right by the guide. That we’ve taken our time to guarantee that there’s transparency. And up to now, we’ve not discovered something ourselves.
Are there further steps of transparency that you simply’ve taken on this hyperpartisan period when the method itself is contested?
We do what we’ve all the time finished. It is a distinctive election as a recall. However take note, we’ve had 4 or 5 elections this yr, particular elections, in addition to final November.
Anytime we uncover one thing that is likely to be an space of concern, we do our greatest to guarantee that we shore that up. If we uncover that any person is complaining that the indicators are too small, they couldn’t actually see an indication at a voting sales space, we attempt to guarantee that subsequent time, we do extra. If of us really feel disenfranchised due to language, if there’s sufficient of us in that group, we guarantee that we improve the variety of languages and guarantee 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, they’d principally created pathways for folk to have the ability to try this. So these are the sorts of issues that we reply to on a regular basis to guarantee that those that wish to construct problems with transparency and equity have a chance to take action.