Registrar responds to grand jury report

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In April, the Riverside County Grand Jury delivered a report critical of the county’s Registrar of Voters Office’s preparation and conduct of the November 2015 election. The grand jury visited seven different polling places in the county.

In its response, which the Board of Supervisors approved in late July, the registrar agreed to change some practices and improve others. However, except for the recommendation regarding the set-up of three polling places, according to photographs in the accessibility kits, the registrar partially disagreed with all the other grand jury findings and recommendations.

For example, regarding inaccurate addresses for three of the polls, the registrar re-affirmed that all addresses were confirmed by the owners or managers of the sites. Nevertheless, the registrar replied, “More attention will be given to including specific building names or numbers … [and] more attention will be given to lighting and signage.”

The grand jury also addressed the training and experience of the poll workers and lamented the inconsistency of their training.

In response, the registrar assured the grand jury that “all polling places had experienced poll workers working on election day [and no] polling place [was] staffed with all new poll workers.” But more attention would be given to election-officer training in the future.

Another issue involved the security seals on the ballot boxes. The grand jury was concerned that some boxes were not secured sufficiently. However, the registrar replied that the ballot box does not have to be “locked” but it does have to be “sealed.”

That means at last one intact seal must protect the box from being opened.

“The ballot box cannot be opened without breaking both seals. It would be impossible to tamper with the paper ballots if one seal is still intact,” stated the registrar’s response

With little debate, the board approved the registrar’s response to the grand jury.

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