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 frivolously edited and condensed.
How is voting going?
We’ve seen over eight million ballots mailed again to this point, which is a really vital variety of ballots coming in. In order that in itself is slightly thrilling, in addition to ballots nonetheless being dropped off on the poll containers this morning.
We’ve had people calling all of our hotlines asking the place their polling locations are or searching for extra data. It’s clear that persons are eager about voting immediately.
Why have individuals been calling the hotlines?
Generally individuals have acquainted polling locations that they used to go to without end and now they’ve modified. We’ve had a few calls saying, “The place is it now?”
We’ve had people who couldn’t discover their ballots — misplaced them after they got here within the mail. And we’ve had people who left the state for a bit and surprise how can they nonetheless vote, these sorts of issues.
However we’ve had no lengthy strains, no people ready. We have now a wait time of zero proper now.
Some other hitches immediately?
We’ve seen small issues. One polling place opening 10 minutes late, that form of stuff.
Due to the fires, we’ve had some people who moved away from their locations. So we’ve got to take care of 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 significant shutdown.
For these dealing with difficulties due to the wildfires, what else have you ever carried out?
We have now made certain that every one of those that have been within the hearth zones acquired their mail-in ballots.
We made certain that those that needed to go away or who’ve misplaced their properties, that that they had entry to voting in numerous different methods, when it comes to having 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 containers have been in different counties or different areas. So we’ve got made outreach to all of those that may need been affected by any hearth or any form of tragedy.
We additionally arrange distant cellular voting for our firefighters to make it possible for those that are away from their properties 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 believe the entire dialogue of fraud throughout the nation form of provides us a preview of what individuals will do. They could file numerous lawsuits. We all know that they’ve been attempting to gather data — they arrange an internet site saying, ‘For those who see any irregularities, present us your irregularities.’ And, you already know, individuals go to court docket, and to this point throughout the nation, they’ve misplaced as a result of there is no such thing as a widespread fraud within the election course of. However whether or not they determine to go to court docket or not, we will probably be there to defend the method.
We all know that they are going to 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 have now no proof of that, and after we’ve had allegations of any kind, particularly if there’s any particular data, we investigated. And as most people have discovered throughout the nation, there is no such thing as a there there.
So we’re not completely freaking out. We’re simply ensuring that every part we do is appropriate by the e-book. That we’ve taken our time to make it possible for there’s transparency. And to this point, we’ve not discovered something ourselves.
Are there further steps of transparency that you just’ve taken on this hyperpartisan period when the method itself is contested?
We do what we’ve at all times carried out. It is a distinctive election as a recall. However consider, we’ve had 4 or 5 elections this yr, particular elections, in addition to final November.
Anytime we uncover one thing that may be an space of concern, we do our greatest to make it possible for we shore that up. If we uncover that anyone is complaining that the indicators are too small, they couldn’t actually see an indication at a voting sales space, we attempt to make it possible for subsequent time, we do extra. If people really feel disenfranchised due to language, if there’s sufficient people in that group, we make it possible for we enhance the variety of languages and make it possible for 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 people to have the ability to try this. So these are the sorts of issues that we reply to on a regular basis to make it possible for those that need to construct problems with transparency and equity have a chance to take action.